Karen Olex has been a teacher/teacher consultant in the Avondale Schools (Auburn Hills, MI) since 1990. Armed with a bachelor of arts (elementary education) and a master of arts (special education) Karen has worked in education since the early 1980s. In 2008, she decided to pursue a director's endorsement. Yet once at the SVSU Macomb Regional Education Center, she spent time with caring and helpful staff, and experienced professors who treated her like a peer, and decided to add the Ed Specialist (in leadership) to her resume. Karen will conclude those studies in May 2010.
When Karen was "school hunting," she said that SVSU stood out for several reasons. It started with a sit-down meeting with a staff member who took the time to "talk to me and make sure I was taking courses that were significant, and not wasteful." Another selling point was the fact that the Macomb campus was so accessible. Ultimately, though, Karen feels that as a student in her 50s and a professional with a great deal of experience, it was the way she was treated and the teaching level of expertise that made SVSU such a great choice. "It's impressive. These teachers are knowledgeable by virtue of holding a PhD, but they are also field-knowledgeable." Karen adds, "I was kind of nervous. I hadn't been in college for 30 years. I was reassured; I was treated like an adult, an adult learner."
When asked about the knowledge she has gained during this academic experience, Karen says "I have grown. Not only do you get the theory, but I have grown professionally, and personally, too. You learn in a collegial setting. It's an atmosphere where everyone wants to see that you're growing. The culture is more inviting, more interactive, more customer-service driven."
And doing it all while working a demanding job is a post script Karen is happy to add. "As an administrator, it was calming to know that my job could be so readily accommodated."