B.A. in English, 1995; Ed.D. in Educational Administration & Leadership, 2008
School of Education
October 1, 2009
Technologies for Teaching the Word and the World
Dr. Kurt Suhr is starting his fifteenth year working for the Newport-Mesa Unified School District (NMUSD) and is beginning his sixth year as principal at Newport Heights Elementary School.
Dr. Suhr knows the Newport-Mesa Unified School District very well, as he was a student in the district K-12. He attended college in Hawaii at Hawaii Pacific University and completed his Bachelor’s Degree from the University of California, Irvine. He received his teaching credential from California State University, Long Beach, his administrative credential from UCI, and his Master’s Degree from Pepperdine University. He completed his doctorate through the CSU/UCI Joint Ed.D. in Educational Administration and Leadership, with an emphasis in Educational Technology Leadership. His dissertation was entitled “Laptops and Fourth Grade Literacy: Assisting the Jump Over the Fourth Grade Slump.”
Dr. Suhr began his teaching career at Rea Elementary School. He taught fourth, fifth and sixth grade – with a special interest in working with English Language Learners who were new to the English language. He was also a Teacher on Special Assignment for one year at Rea School to help implement Renaissance Learning programs, including Accelerated Reader and Accelerated Math. Subsequently, Dr. Suhr was appointed Assistant Principal at Rea School for two years and during the second year became Interim Principal. During the time he worked at Rea School, Dr. Mark Warschauer was conducting research in a fourth grade classroom at the school that was implementing a one-to-one laptop program. It was at this time that Dr. Suhr developed a keen interest in laptop learning environments and subsequently decided to join the UCI Laptop Research Team the following year when he entered his doctoral program. This research allowed him to gain a much deeper understanding of laptop environments and afforded him an opportunity to ultimately develop this interest into his dissertation.
In 2007, Governor Schwarzenegger honored Dr. Suhr as the Governor’s Council of Physical Fitness and Sports Principal of the Year. Each year the Governor’s Council recognizes educators who go above and beyond their expected duties. Dr. Suhr was honored at an awards ceremony in Los Angeles and received $10,000 for his physical education programming. During the ceremony he was recognized for his innovative work in promoting physical activity and reshaping physical education programs in elementary schools. These innovations included providing incentives for students who walked to school, and increasing exercise opportunities during lunch and recess. Since Dr. Suhr started the Coordinated Approach to Children’s Health Physical Education program at Newport Heights, more than 1,500 classrooms throughout the state have adopted the program.
In 2009, Suhr was notified that a manuscript entitled “Laptops and Fourth Grade Literacy: Assisting the Jump Over the Fourth Grade Slump,” was accepted for publication at Boston College’s Journal of Technology, Learning, and Assessment(JTLA). He co-authored this manuscript, and it expanded his initial dissertation work to include the qualitative work that Dr. Warschauer had conducted in the same school district that Dr. Suhr investigated.
Dr. Suhr has a family with a daughter entering sixth grade this year and a son starting third grade. He enjoys spending time with his family, surfing, wakeboarding, snowboarding, fishing, and playing soccer. He attributes his success to excellent mentorship, a supportive family, and being fortunate enough to work with outstanding staff members, parents and students.