School of Education Alumnus Brian Kutchak Leads His School District to National Blue Ribbon Designation Alumni Profile
Pictured from left are Linda Hippert, Ed.D., assistant professor of education, and Brian Kutchak, 2019 Ed.D. graduate. Submitted photo.
Meet Brian Kutchak, Ed.D. '19
- Job Title & Employer
- Principal, Kiski Area South Primary School, Kiski Area School District
- Leadership and Administration-Ed.D.
- Elizabeth, Pa.; Elizabeth Forward High School
- Now Living In
- Penn Township, Pa.
- Hobbies & Interests
- Golf, weightlifting and sports
"My doctoral degree in educational leadership from Point Park University has made me a more well-rounded leader. To build leadership capacity among staff members, I would often use and share passages and articles directly from my coursework with my staff."
How did your Ed.D. studies result in success at Kiski Area South Primary School?
My dissertation was a qualitative study of the professional learning community (PLC) factors that influence effectiveness in elementary schools. Our use of PLCs at my school enabled us to consistently collaborate with one another and engage in open and honest dialogue that developed mutual trust among the staff. During these PLC sessions, we were able to analyze student data and discuss teacher best practices in a cyclical fashion that increased our overall student achievement, adult learning and positive school culture. We have now become a 2021 National Blue Ribbon School!
What did you like about the Ed.D. coursework?
My coursework directly related to the work I perform everyday as a school administrator. As I was conducting PLC meetings daily with my staff, I was simultaneously researching the PLC factors that most influence effectiveness in elementary schools. I believe that this helped me to implement the PLC process with greater fidelity.
My doctoral degree in educational leadership from Point Park University has made me a more well-rounded leader. To build leadership capacity among staff members, I would often use and share passages and articles directly from my coursework with my staff.
Which Point Park faculty members had an impact on you?
All of the faculty members in my doctoral program had an impact on me in some way. I learned something from each class that I use daily in my professional or personal life. Linda Hippert, Ed.D., and Mitchel Nickols, Ph.D., had the biggest impact on me during my time at Point Park because they both served on my dissertation committee. Dr. Hippert was an excellent committee chair. She offered a wealth of knowledge and was extremely supportive throughout the dissertation process. Dr. Nickols was a great cohort mentor who supplied plenty of sage advice.
Why would you recommend Point Park to a prospective student?
I would and have recommended Point Park to a colleague. My school guidance counselor is currently enrolled in the principal and doctorate program at Point Park. I encouraged her to earn her degree at Point Park due to the flexible program hours with after-work and online options and the knowledgeable, supportive and friendly staff.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
“The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather a lack of will.” – Vincent T. Lombardi