Lifelong learner: CVES principal receives scholarship to pursue higher education

Published 7:36 pm Monday, May 20, 2024

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By NOAH WORTHAM | Managing Editor 

ALABASTER – Creek View Elementary School Principal Charissa Cole has been named as a 2024 scholarship program recipient from the School Superintendents of Alabama and its sponsor Curriculum Associates.

“I was really blown away,” Cole said. “It was surprise to me.”

Alabaster City Schools Superintendent Wayne Vickers nominated Cole for the scholarship which is awarded to educators who plan to pursue a degree in school administration from one of Alabama’s public colleges or universities.

“I’m just very blessed and honored that he has recommended me for this scholarship and just so grateful as well,” Cole said.

Cole will be able to utilize the scholarship in assisting with her pursuit of an Ed.D. in educational leadership from the University of Montevallo.

“I’m really pursuing this degree to create future opportunities and (to) continue to move my school forward,” Cole said

Cole shared that she is happy and content with her current position at CVES where she recently signed a three year contract to continue as principal—a position she started in 2014. During her time at CVES, Cole helped the school to become the first school in the district to be recognized as a National Blue Ribbon School.

“I love my job but I definitely want to move my school forward and learn and grow,” Cole said. “I believe all educators should be lifelong learners.”

Cole obtained a bachelor’s degree in music education from the University of North Alabama in 1998 and graduated from the University of Montevallo in 2003 with a master’s in educational leadership and administration.

Cole has an extensive history in music education and shared that she would take the opportunity to one day be a fine arts coordinator if it came.

“I definitely have a passion for music education and I also have a passion for mentoring and developing teachers and future leaders,” Cole said. “So, I would be open to positions at a district or at the college level to do that.”

In returning to her alma mater at the University of Montevallo, Cole will also be able to take part in a historic moment for the public liberal arts college as the Ed.D program marks the university’s first doctoral program.

“I’m so excited for this area and this region to have this program,” Cole said. “I think it’ll be very beneficial for the Alabaster area (and) Pelham. Lots of people live close to Montevallo—it’ll be very beneficial for them to have this right in our back door.”

According to a release by UM, the doctorate in educational leadership degree is an online program that targets seasoned professionals who aim to elevate their careers.

The program melds theory with practical inquiry, preparing graduates to tackle intricate problems, influence organizational culture, foster sustainable solutions and enhance leadership for transformative change. The curriculum is delivered through collaborative online sessions led by expert educators and researchers.

“I see myself as a transformational leader and I want to continue developing relationships with all stakeholders,” Cole said. “And I love self-growth and problem-solving and motivating other educators. So, I feel like pursuing this degree will help me continue my education and help me build other relationships with other colleagues that are in my same field and be able to collaborate with them and learn from them.”