Having worked as a teacher for years, Samantha Holland knew when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, it would have a long-lasting impact on school classrooms. To combat those disruptions, Holland made the decision to apply to Saint Mary’s to pursue her Ed.S. in Educational Administration degree and become an administrator.

“As a teacher, you manage your classroom but the only way to effect change on a big basis is to go to the next level, which is administration,” she said.

Since graduating in 2022, Holland is now considering numerous administrative career options, like assistant principal and curriculum director positions. And she feels prepared to take this next step after her time at Saint Mary’s.

While Holland found the course material to be extremely applicable to her career, what she found most valuable was her internship … even if she found the required amount of hours intimidating at first.

“My internship allowed me to see things that administrators do that teachers usually don’t get to see from the classroom,” she said. “And I couldn’t have done it without my adviser. She helped me with training, called me to talk me off of ledges, and really helped boil it down and make it all manageable for me.”

Holland says the desire to help her find success and the flexibility she found from staff and faculty made all the difference during her time at Saint Mary’s.

“There were a few times during my program when I had personal matters going on and had to reach out to my professors and let them know I was struggling. They all said, ‘Take your time, and get the work done when you can,’ ” she said. “Their emphasis was more on getting the work done well than getting the work done just to have it done. To me, that’s the sign of a truly adult-centered education.”

And Holland appreciates the fact that most of the instructors in her program have spent time in K-12 classrooms, not just the academic world.

“It was great to have professors who were teaching in the classroom recently, not just 100 years ago, which is not the case in a number of programs I’ve been in,” she said. “For example, my adviser was a superintendent in Saint Cloud, so she knew what I was going through and what I was working toward.”

With a diploma now in hand, Holland says she would absolutely suggest the Ed.S. in Educational Administration program to anyone in education looking to effect change in the education system, especially anyone looking to learn in a close-knit community.

“It was so nice to be a part of a small program that felt like – even thought I was – I wasn’t just a student ID number, I’m a person. That was really the most important thing for me,” she said.

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