UNLV College of Education Awarded $1 Million to Establish Highly-Selective Program to Recruit Promising Future Educators

Governor Sandoval’s “Top Gun” Initiative—the Nevada Institute on Teaching and Educator Preparation (NITEP)—seeks to prepare the “best and brightest” teachers to serve in Nevada schools; names its first cohort of Fellows

Spurring a program designed specifically to train high-potential candidates to become future teachers, the Nevada Department of Education awarded the College of Education at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas a $1 million grant to initiate the Nevada Institute on Teaching and Educator Preparation (NITEP/Institute) at its board meeting on August 30.

NITEP, originally created during the 2017 Nevada Legislative Session via Senate Bill 548, will 1) Establish a highly selective program within the UNLV College of Education for the education and training of teachers; 2) Conduct innovative and extensive research to identify promising methods used to train educators and teach pupils; and 3) Continually evaluate, develop and disseminate the best identified approaches to teaching that address the varied settings in which students in Nevada are educated.

Noting a charge of the Institute is to add personnel to the teacher pipeline to fill necessary vacancies, Nevada State Senator (District 5) Joyce Woodhouse said, “we wanted to use this opportunity to develop an elite, rigorous program that recruits the best and brightest to Nevada. We intend for the students who participate in this program to be the example of the highly qualified teachers we want in our classrooms in front of our students.”

The State Board of Education selected the UNLV College of Education as the home institution for NITEP at its November 2017 meeting, allowing the College to spend the last nine months building the infrastructure, systems and programming for the Institute. As of September 26, the College has awarded the first cohort of 10 NITEP Fellows to begin their work at the start of the fall 2018 semester. Five fellows—Sara Del Mastro (Early Childhood Education), Jessica Gonzalez (Special Education), Ilyssa McBride (Elementary), Olaya Perez (Secondary Math) and Makenzi Solis (Special Education)—were selected as incoming freshmen, and an additional five—Zuleima Aguilar-Ramirez (Elementary), Jesus Basulto (Secondary  Social Studies), April Beardsley (Elementary), Caroline Farah (Secondary English) and Brooke Lantz (Elementary)—were identified as high-achieving full-majors already enrolled in teacher education programs within the COE.

Students identified as NITEP Fellows will receive differentiated instruction and have opportunities to participate in research that seeks to transform teacher preparation, providing increasing autonomy and professional responsibility for educator candidates during their college careers. Fellows will work on special projects and assume unique leadership roles in education; in future years, with the addition of supplementary, larger NITEP cohorts, there will be a steady stream of exceptional educators entering Nevada classrooms with the capacity to lead and expand their expertise. Participating students will also form a specialized improvement network, serving as mentors to future NITEP Fellows and connecting across schools to engage with the most challenging issues in education.

A key component of NITEP is ensuring that research findings are disseminated to both state agencies and national education stakeholders, allowing the most promising approaches to educator preparation to be broadly understood and implemented, resulting in highly effective classroom leaders. The College of Education will build upon its numerous existing partnerships, both inside and outside of Nevada, to explore new methods of engaging with educators and other colleagues in teacher preparation, ensuring the work of NITEP will have ongoing and far reaching impact in schools.

“The College of Education is committed to systematically studying and refining the best practices in educator preparation to ensure that we are preparing high-quality teachers to effectively educate the next generation of Nevadans,” said College of Education Dean Kim Metcalf. “We intend for NITEP to be a model program to challenge the status quo and build leaders poised to make an impact for generations to come. We are grateful for the support of the Nevada Department of Education and the vision of our state’s leadership to create this forward-thinking institution that will not only broaden opportunities for participating fellows, but help develop transferable and scalable processes to benefit all educators.”

Register Now! 2018 Summit on Nevada Education

The UNLV College of Education is proud to expand existing best practice into “next generation practices” that address and overcome the challenges we face in education throughout Nevada and beyond.

Join educators, administrators, policy makers, community leaders, teacher preparation leaders, pre-service teachers and others with a direct link to education to gather in an open forum to share ideas, challenges and lessons to improve and celebrate what lies ahead in Nevada.

Early bird pricing ends November 5!
December 3, 2018
UNLV Student Union Ballroom

Contact Sheila Bray with questions.

Featuring Keynote Speaker: Andrew J. Rotherham
Photo Credit: Liz Lynch

Andrew J. Rotherham is a co-founder and partner at Bellwether Education Partners, a national nonprofit organization working to support educational innovation and improve educational outcomes for underserved students. Rotherham leads Bellwether’s policy analysis and thought leadership work. He is also a contributing editor to U.S. News & World Report and a senior editor at The 74, an education news and analysis publication. In addition Rotherham writes the blog Eduwonk.com, teaches courses on education at The University of Virginia, and is co-publisher of “Education Insider,” a federal policy analysis tool produced by Whiteboard Advisors, where he is a senior adviser. Rotherham previously served at the White House as special assistant to the president for domestic policy during the Clinton administration, as a member of the Virginia Board of Education, and as an education columnist for TIME and Executive Editor of RealClear Education. In addition to Bellwether, Rotherham has founded or co-founded two other education organizations and served on the boards of several other successful education startups.  Rotherham is the author or co-author of more than 400 published articles, book chapters, papers, and op-eds about education policy and politics and is the author or editor of four books on educational policy. He serves on the boards of directors several organizations including the Curry School of Education Foundation at the University of Virginia and Classroom Champions, a Canada-based nonprofit that pairs Olympic and Paralympic athletes with high-poverty classrooms and schools for student mentoring.

Watch highlights from the 2017 Summit here.

Program Spotlight: Ed.D. in Executive Educational Leadership

Disrupting, Transforming, and Innovating Education

The Doctor of Education in Executive Educational Leadership degree is a 60 semester hour cohort program that focuses on providing mid-career public school leaders a firm foundation of knowledge and skills to create innovative solutions as they address current and future challenges in the national educational and political climate.

The Ed. D. in Executive Educational Leadership is grounded in the belief that educational excellence can be achieved through visionary and transformative leadership, organizational change, equity and excellence, and a focus on teaching and learning. The program utilizes a Problems of Practice learning approach and is based on the National Educational Leadership Preparation (NELP) Standards for district-level public school leaders.

Recognizing that educational leaders must work alongside other community institutions, including government agencies, non-profit organizations, and business and industry, for the well-being of our community’s students and families, doctoral students are required to participate in an externship with a school district or education agency outside their own employment. Students must also participate in a one-week policy-based seminar in Washington, D.C.

Application & Admission

Admissions Deadline: March 15 of Odd numbered years

Admission will be limited to the most qualified applicants based on a combination of the following:

  • Hold a master’s from a regionally accredited program in educational leadership or a closely related area.
  • Official copies of all college transcripts
  • Three letters of recommendation (One must be from your immediate supervisors).
  • Satisfactory scores on the Graduate Record Exam
  • Three years professional experience in a leadership position (Final determination by program faculty)
  • Letter of Interest
  • Resume or Vita
  • Statement of Philosophy of Leadership
  • Proof of writing ability (thesis, professional paper)
  • Successful interview with program faculty.
  • Graduate Record Exam (GRE): To find out more about the GRE and how to sign up for a test date, please visit https://www.ets.org/gre/
  • Apply online:
    • Upload all unofficial university level transcripts when completing the on-line application. For the admission process to be complete, you must also supply an official copy of all transcripts to the Graduate College.
    • Three letters of recommendation (one must be from current supervisor). Ask your recommenders to write about: (a) your leadership experiences and strengths; (b) your commitment to excellence; and (c) your judgment and decision-making skills. Recommenders will submit their letters directly into the On-line application system.
    • Resume or Vita
    • Philosophy of Leadership statement. In no more than 3 pages, write your response to the following: What makes an effective district leader? What are the professional responsibilities of an effective district leader in relation to (a) student learning, (b) teacher development, (c) family/community engagement, and (d) one’s own professional obligations, reflection, and growth? Upload completed leadership statement through on-line application system.
  • All applicants will be contacted for an interview in late March. Interviews are conducted by a team of faculty.

Begin the application process:

Submit Application

For further information about graduate admission requirements, go to Graduate College.

The Ed. D in Executive Educational Leadership operates on a differential, market-based tuition model and may include an additional charge per credit hour.

Nevada Residency: For tuition purposes, all new graduate students are classified out-of-state until Nevada residency is determined via the residency application process. In order to obtain Nevada residency, you must download the residency application and submit along with the required supporting documentation by the first day of the semester in which you are applying for residency. Residency is determined by the Registrar’s Office. Get more information about residency requirements.

Program Features

Integrated Problems of Practice

Professional Problems of Practice (PoP) are central to the program, offering participants the opportunity to immediately apply course-based knowledge and skills to real-world situations. Throughout the program doctoral students will work on self-selected Problems of Practice to engage in the real work of creating change in education through innovative design thinking. Leaders will work at their school and district sites to identify and address a Problem of Practice targeting an area of leadership from the NELP content standards. The scholar will focus research efforts on the PoP and use it as a springboard for completing a dissertation in that area of study. In addition, doctoral students are required to participate in an externship with a school district or educational agency outside their own employment. Student must also participate in a one-week policy-based seminar in Washington, D.C.

Cohort Approach

The program is designed so that students participate in a sequence of classes in which students stay together as a cohort. The cohort approach provides a system of support and network for doctoral students.

National Standards-Based

The Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership curriculum was developed based on the National Educational Leadership Preparation Standards for district level educational administrators. Thus, program participants will be engaging in dialogue and experiences that will be expected of their performance as district level educational administrators in any district in the nation.

Scheduling Designed for the Working Professional

The program is designed for professionals currently employed as principals or school district administrators or other educational professionals. Students complete the program as a cohort over three years. Dissertation hours only may be taken at the pace required by each individual student. Classes will be scheduled on weekends during the regular semesters and in week-long sessions in the summer. All courses will include online readings, assignments, and support. Students may apply for the cohort program each odd numbered year, to begin courses in the summer.


Dr. Maria B. Roberts
Program Coordinator
Email: maria.roberts@unlv.edu
Phone: 702-895-1914
Room: CEB 318
Program Flyer