Barbara Rieckhoff Ph.D., Associate Professor & Director of Educational Leadership Master’s Program
Barbara Rieckhoff, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor in the Department of Leadership, Language and Curriculum. She specializes in educational leadership and teaches in the Principal Preparation Program. Dr. Rieckhoff served as principal in public and Catholic schools for a number of years, which have contributed to her research involving shared leadership and principal mentoring.
Some of Dr. Rieckhoff’s work within the department has been in response to changes made at the state level involving the elimination of the Type 75 certificate, an advanced administrative certificate required for K-12 leadership positions. “We’ve been working on several different initiatives to market our new Principal Preparation Licensure program,” says Dr. Rieckhoff. “We have a public school strand and a Catholic school strand, so we are marketing to different audiences throughout the city and suburbs. Our candidates come from public, private, Catholic and charter schools. We are fortunate to have representation from a variety of schools within our classes, adding to the richness of the dialogue and informing our candidates across various settings. They come to know and understand each other’s settings and contexts better, and ultimately discover they have many things in common as future school leaders.”
The Educational Leadership Master’s Program with Principal Preparation Licensure is a rigorous, Illinois State Board (ISBE) approved program that prepares graduates for principal and assistant principal positions. Participants in the program also have the option to add a Catholic Principal concentration, which prepares graduates for administrative and supervisory roles in Catholic schools.
Dr. Rieckhoff also works with the Catholic Leadership Council, comprised of five high-needs Catholic high schools, to identify and develop professional development to meet the needs of the teachers and administrators. She coordinates a fall and winter Catholic School Leadership Conference each year. The recent all-day event was hosted here at DePaul, with 75 teachers in attendance, and included breakout sessions by content area.
Dr. Rieckhoff’s research interests explore how principals share leadership in public and Catholic schools, and principal coaching and mentoring. “I’m interested in helping principals understand how they can share leadership and the impact this will have on their schools,” says Rieckhoff. ‘It can make a difference not only in their workloads, but also in their ability to reach students.”
She enjoys collaborating with the Irwin W. Steans Center to offer service learning courses. This quarter, a master’s level curriculum studies course has students completing fieldwork on site at six area schools. The students are reviewing and analyzing curriculum materials for the schools and are practicing some of their leadership training while incorporating DePaul’s mission of social justice.
One of Dr. Rieckhoff’s recent accomplishments includes the publication of the manuscript The Development of Faith Leadership in Novice Principals in The Journal of Catholic Education . The article explores how faith leadership develops in principals as they balance the spiritual role with the many other roles they have. She is also working in collaboration with LLC Department Associate Professor, Fr. Anthony Dosen, C.M., Ph. D, on a book for Catholic school leaders, contributing chapters on marketing and enrollment and operational vitality.
When she’s not busy teaching or doing research, Dr. Rieckhoff enjoys spending time with her family and volunteering with her dog, Sophie, a Golden Retriever therapy dog. Trained and licensed by Therapy Dogs International, this program connects dogs with places where therapy dogs are needed. Sophie is a regular in the K-9 Reading Buddies of the North Shore, where kids read to her at the public library. This non-for-profit group supports literacy development for kids who are struggling or may need some encouragement to read. Other therapy visits include nursing homes and convents for elderly nuns and religious figures.