School administration doctorate amplifies career impact
Friday, December 4, 2020
Dr. Don Raleigh, with an eye for the future of his school district, pursued a doctorate in school administration at Oklahoma State University.
This advanced degree has prepared him to lead education conversations across the state while also investing in the faculty, staff and students as superintendent of Pryor School District.
“I’ve been blessed to be able to be in a position to hopefully make some change and to have an impact on kids in our community,” Raleigh said. “I came to OSU wanting to continue to excel as a leader and to grow my own personal craft, so I could support the Pryor School District.”
After graduating, the Oklahoma Advisory Council named Raleigh the 2014 Oklahoma Administrator of the Year. In 2016, the Oklahoma Association of School Administrators (OASA) named him Oklahoma Superintendent of the Year, and he served as the OASA president last year.
“Pursuing a doctoral degree has enhanced my ability to have more of a voice at the state level,” Raleigh said. “It’s opened some doors and been worth the experience.”
Raleigh credits his professors at OSU for helping shape him into the leader he is today.
“We had really good instructors who cared about what we were doing and had experience in administration,” Raleigh said. “Some led cutting-edge research and others helped us apply research to our own school buildings and districts.”
While pursuing his doctorate, Raleigh was an early participant of TeleED, a collaborative teleconference program for Oklahoma school administrators. Originally designed as an opportunity for superintendents of large school districts to share resources and insight with colleagues in smaller, rural districts, TeleED has become vital as school administrators develop collaborative solutions to distance learning due to coronavirus.
“A lot of people have poured into me and given me opportunities and helped me as I move through my career,” Raleigh said. “I feel a true obligation to pay that back by continuing to mentor and help others.”
As Raleigh uses his advanced degree to implement research-proven programs in Pryor schools, connect with school administrators across Oklahoma through TeleEDGE and lead at the state and national level, he credits what he learned at OSU for his success.
“This doctorate program gave me the ability to take what I learned and apply it,” Raleigh said. “I’ve become more receptive to new ideas and have opened my thinking.”
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