Cohort 2 graduation photo

Nurturing Leaders, Building Bonds: The Baylor School Leadership Experience

By Sahira Kodra

Reflecting on my journey in Cohort 2 of the Baylor School of Education’s Master of Arts in School Leadership (MASL) program, time has flown by faster than expected. It’s still somewhat unbelievable that I walked the stage just last month. As our team starts to welcome Cohort 4, I’m excited to share that Cohort 3 is preparing for their graduation this December.

The palpable sense of excitement and achievement is evident as we get to witness the program’s growth and the emergence of new leaders ready to make a positive impact in education. This program is truly one of a kind. Don’t just take my word for it – let me introduce you to some of my exceptional friends who have been on this transformative journey with me. They have some incredible stories that capture the essence of what makes this program so special.

Angela Coleman on Teacher Well-Being and Relationships

Angela Coleman, a high school Spanish teacher at Mount Paran Christian School in Georgia, speaks about well-being and relationships.

Dr. Jon Eckert talks about well-being for students and that begins with teachers’ well-being. For me, the most important aspect are the relationships I’ve built with professors and the other teachers in the program,” Coleman said. “The fact that we have the opportunity to stay in the dorm together during summer intensives, and keep in contact throughout the year with online classes solidifies the relationships you form. I’ve got my square squad [a phrase coined by Brene Brown meaning a sacred circle of supporters whose opinion matters to you] and we’ve built some lifelong friendships. I think we’re modeling for our students what it means to have good relationships.”

Chad Fair on Faculty Expertise and Understanding

Chad Fair, a teacher at Charlotte Christian School in North Carolina, commends the program’s faculty, citing their diverse perspectives and extensive industry experience.

“The faculty at Baylor understand the unique challenges faced by working professionals in the education sector. They work collaboratively with students, recognizing their position as professionals working toward a shared goal. I love the perspectives they bring to the table because there is a wealth of knowledge and experience that I simply don’t have, yet,” Fair said.

Krystle Moos and LuAnna Odom on Leadership Development and Intentional Model

“The Baylor Center for School Leadership provides opportunities for leaders to leverage their strengths, enabling them to make impactful changes that enhance learning for every student. This approach intentionally empowers educators to enact positive transformations within their educational settings,” Moos said.

LuAnna Odom, Director of Academics at Ontario Christian School in California, addresses the summer intensive model.

“This team has prayerfully and intentionally created this program, with the summer intensives on campus, cohort dorm life, community-building activities, delicious meals together, invitations into [their] homes to meet [their] families, online classes, and hand-selected rockstar professors and consultants,” Odom said.

Kelsey Miller and Sahira Kodra on Faith-Based Friendships

Kelsey Miller, a teacher at Frisco ISD in Texas, was drawn to Baylor’s MASL program because of the faith-based aspect.

“My ‘yes’ was driven by Baylor’s unique faith-based program that encompassed a relationship-based foundation through in-person summer intensives to develop rich friendships,” Miller said. “These friendships have thus far shown up as late-night peer editors, long distance phone calls, and a wealth of information as cohort members are located all over the country. I am grateful to be a Baylor Bear, and I am a better educator because of this program.”

For me, Sahira Kodra, the MASL program is carefully curated to what Christ-centered educators need. The ability to be in-person for two weeks in the summer gives one the chance to build a family with his or her cohort. The program shifts mindsets, prepares students to lead boldly, and provides a network of people to lean on along the way.

Now, I have the opportunity to work alongside the MASL program in my role as a coordinator for the Baylor Center for School Leadership. Each summer I will get to welcome a new cohort and see the family-like bond built each year. This community of leaders is like no other and I encourage every educator to join us as we lead for flourishing.

About the Author

Sahira Kodra serves as the program coordinator for the School of Education’s Baylor Center for School Leadership (BCSL). Kodra works closely with the BCSL team to support the department’s mission. Through her role, she engages in the thriving community of Christian leadership in schools and districts. She provides administrative coordination within the BCSL through related event planning, program support, marketing, and accounting support. She joined Baylor University in the summer of 2023 from a position in Leander Independent School District, where she previously worked as a classroom teacher. Kodra received her Master of Arts in School Leadership from Baylor University in the fall of 2023 and earned her BSEd in Elementary Education with a Gifted and Talented Concentration from Baylor University in the spring of 2020.

About the Baylor Master of Arts in School Leadership

The Master of Arts in School Leadership (MASL) program achieved a significant milestone with its first cohort graduating in December 2022. The program, offering tracks for both Texas principal certification and leaders in independent or non-Texas schools, witnessed a 100 percent pass rate among Texas track graduates in required exams. The program’s hybrid design, with online sessions during the school year and intensive on-campus sessions in June, caters to the needs of working K-12 educators.

The Baylor School of Education’s MASL program goes beyond academic excellence. It creates a holistic experience that nurtures leaders, builds lasting relationships, and instills a sense of purpose and community among educators. As the program continues to grow, it stands as a beacon for those aspiring to lead with faith, compassion, and a commitment to positive change in education. Learn more and apply for the next cohort here.

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