Ed.D. in Educational Administration & Leadership, 2007
School of Education
June 1, 2008
Dr. Sheila Coleman, Director of Christian Ministries at Garden Grove’s Crystal Cathedral, has followed a lifetime path of setting educational goals for herself and for others
Getting my teaching credential was a mid-life change in career for me. My four sons were all in grade school. Although I had a successful career as a published author, I found myself drawn to the classroom of one of my sons who was having a hard time learning. The more time I spent in his classroom, the more I became interested in how children learn. In the process I became more and more disenchanted with the loneliness of writing as opposed to the rewards of being with children.
My amazingly supportive husband encouraged me to follow my heart. So, I entered a teaching credential/masters in curriculum and education program. Because my undergraduate degree was in Organic Chemistry, I discovered that I loved teaching science to my fourth/fifth grade students in Fullerton School District. Also, my experience as an accomplished writer enabled me to teach children how to be authors in their own right.
Much to my surprise, the leaders of my church approached me, requesting me to replace the retiring principal of the church-sponsored school. Without a second thought I said, “No! I love teaching and besides, I have absolutely no desire to be a principal. Nobody-not the teachers, not the parents, not the students-nobody–likes principals-and I like to be liked!”
After repeated appeals from the church leaders I finally found myself drawn to the idea, and so 13 years ago I became the Principal of the Crystal Cathedral Academy (Yes, the Crystal Cathedral has a school). Since that time I have provided leadership to expanding the K-8 school to include a college prep high school with an emphasis on the arts. Although the class of 2008 is only our fourth (very small) graduating class, we have had students accepted into such schools as Stanford with full-ride scholarships.
It was while earning my Administration Credential (Tier II) at UC Irvine that I learned of the CSU/UCI Joint Ed.D. program in Administration and Leadership. I couldn’t wait to apply and was thrilled to be accepted and to have this amazing, life-changing opportunity. Last March I successfully defended my dissertation, a case study focusing on the perceived benefits of Latino high school students from participating in drama. I was fortunate to have the opportunity to observe a high school drama classroom (97% Latino) for one month, interview the teacher, students, and administrator, as well as analyze student writing. This experience was possible because of the challenging courses that I took at UCI, especially the research methodology courses, not to mention the excellent guidance I received from the many professors who openly shared their knowledge and expertise with me. Today, one year later, I’m sorry to say that my life is just as busy as it was when I was in the doctorate program. Having learned that I can successfully balance a doctoral program in conjunction with a full time career, I was encouraged to accept writing projects as an adjunct to my career. As a result I recently completed a major writing project for which I served as the general editor. It will be released at the end of May 2008 by Faith Words. I have also signed a two-book contract with the same publisher. The first manuscript has already been delivered and will be released in May 2009. The second book is slated for publication in May 2010.
I am blessed. I have the best of so many worlds: two careers, sons who are all in college or grad school, a happy marriage (because I spoil my husband with the world’s best lemon meringue pie), and a faith that keeps me going when I’ve said “Yes” once too many times.