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Dr. Ronald Williamson, Professor


"By the end of each class, students have developed a set of leadership tools that they can use to work collaboratively with their faculty and school community to assure high levels of achievement by all students."

Degrees Held:

  • Ed.D. – Eastern Michigan University, 1996
  • Ed.S. – Eastern Michigan University, 1994
  • M.A. – Eastern Michigan University, 1970
  • B.A. – University of Michigan, 1968

Career Highlights:

Over the years I've been a building and central office school administrator; the executive director of the National Middle School Association; a member of NASSP's Middle level Council; and the president of the National Forum to Accelerate Middle grades Reform, a coalition of all major professional organizations serving middle schools. I've received an award from NASSP for lifetime achievement in middle level leadership, as well as teaching excellence awards at both University of North Carolina, Greensboro and Eastern Michigan University. Additionally, I've worked with several large urban school districts, numerous suburban districts and 50 rural districts on issues of school improvement and improved college readiness and access.

In which online degree program do you teach?

M.A. in Educational Leadership

  • Links to multimedia:

    There are way too many to share, but many can be found on my website:

  • Which classes do you teach online?

    EDLD 515, EDLD 620, and EDLD 630

  • What do students learn in your classes? What is the expected outcome?

    Since I teach three classes, this is a little generic. In each class I bridge between theory and practice. The key is to provide spring school leaders with the knowledge and skills to successfully work in diverse settings. By the end of each class students have developed a set of leadership tools that they can use to work collaboratively with their faculty and school community to assure high levels of achievement by all students.

  • Why did you start teaching?

    I became a middle school teacher in 1967 and was committed to helping all students achieve success in high school and beyond. That work continued when I became an administrator and moved to higher education. The goal is slightly different today but remains focused on supporting adults who work with our nation's youth, particularly those who are underrepresented and underserved by our schools.

  • What advice would you give to those considering this online degree program?

    First, don't just select an online program for convenience but because of the richness in course offerings, the presence of full-time faculty, and the opportunity to interact and engage with other students and the faculty. Second, make sure you're comfortable with the latest technology. Our coursework expects students to navigate a variety of online settings and be fluent in technology use.

  • What qualities make someone particularly successful in education?

    Successfully school leaders are those who recognize the importance of working collaboratively with their teachers, staff and community. They value diverse points of view and welcome input, even when uncomfortable. Those leaders have a laser-light focus on improving learning for every student. They recognize when past practice may no longer be appropriate and are comfortable challenging long established norms.

  • What do you think is the biggest challenge that educators face today?

    There is tremendous turnover in school leadership. People are retiring or moving to other fields. People struggle with the lack of resources and support. One of our biggest challenges is recruiting and retaining qualified individuals who are willing to commit to school leadership.

  • What is the one book you think everyone should read?

    "A Sense of Urgency" by John Kotter.

  • Tell us something interesting about yourself that your students may not know.

    I'm a prolific writer and am the author of twelve books including "The Principalship from A to Z, "The School Leader's Guide to Social Media" and "Rigor in Your School: A Toolkit for Leaders." I also enjoy time hiking in the backcountry of Montana, Wyoming and Alaska. Life can be incredibly busy and time "off the grid" is important to relax and rejuvenate.

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