Kevin Powers, (M.Ed. ‘14) is the principal at St. Margaret of Scotland (Chicago, IL). Originally from northern Boston, MA, Powers first pursued a degree in business. In college, he often volunteered in different educational environments including a preschool. After earning his degree, his passion for working with others led him to pursue a career in the field of education.
Powers enrolled in University of Notre Dame’s ACE, Alliance for Catholic Education, program. The ACE M.Ed. prepares teachers by integrating graduate level coursework with an immersion teaching experience. During his two years of teaching experience, Powers taught second grade at an underresourced Catholic school in California. He quickly understood the importance of strong leadership to maintain a school’s mission, vision and values. After his first year of teaching, Powers knew he wanted to someday be a principal.
Powers completed his M.Ed. and moved to Chicago, where he began teaching third grade at Alphonsus Academy & Center for the Arts. While teaching at Alphonsus Academy, he was introduced to the DePaul community. Knowing he wanted to further his education, Powers applied and was awarded a scholarship from the Big Shoulders Fund to attend DePaul University’s Educational Leadership program.
“I met Dr. Rieckhoff at Alphonsus Academy when I was teaching third grade,” says Powers. “She mentioned DePaul’s Educational Leadership program, and that is where my interest began.” DePaul University’s Educational Leadership program greatly impacted Kevin Powers’ education and career. He benefited from class discussions along with the opportunity to share his own experiences. Powers also learned from his classmates, who were mission-driven, “whole school” oriented people. Throughout his coursework, DePaul professors pushed Powers to think as a leader and to be conscientious of the kind of imprint one can make on a school community.
“The program really emphasized the ability to articulate your school’s mission and vision,” says Powers. “Through strong academic training and several networking opportunities, I feel as though the program prepared me for my role as principal.”
One year into the program, Powers accepted the Principal position at St. Margaret of Scotland. The transition from teacher to principal allowed him to apply newly obtained knowledge to everyday practice. He believes that DePaul prepared him to effectively lead a school. For example, in A&S 493 Data Driven Decision Making, he learned to analyze school data and provide solutions. During this course, Kevin and peers were assigned to an under-resourced school where they analyzed reading scores and gave suggestions to improve the reading curriculum.
Inspired by this experience, Kevin hosted a Data Driven Decision Making group at his school the following year. The DePaul University students analyzed his school’s Terra Nova trends and provided helpful suggestions.
“DePaul does a great job of preparing inner-city school leaders,” say Powers. “The concepts and theories I learned really tie into the Vincentian values, which can be utilized through educational leadership positions.”
Kevin Powers strongly recommends DePaul University’s College of Education to others. He believes graduates from the Educational Leadership program will be prepared to do great things for their community.