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Leading Educators

By By Logan Smith, September 20, 2022

Alumni are impacting the next generation at the highest levels

Liberty University School of Education alumna Lisa Lee always felt called to impact city schools as a classroom teacher.

For 15 years, she touched the lives of hundreds of children while teaching third, fourth, and fifth grades at Heritage Elementary School in Lynchburg, Va. She was living her dream. But then something changed.

“For years, my only desire was to be in the classroom, until one day, I felt like it was time for me to stretch out a little bit,” said Lee, who earned her undergraduate degree in education from Liberty in 1995.

As a busy, working mother of three, Lee hadn’t thought too much about furthering her own education. But her newfound desire to “stretch” herself led her back to her alma mater in 2008 to pursue a master’s in administration through the online program.

“Once I started that program, I knew that’s where I needed to be,” she said. “It was home away from home.”

After completing the degree, Lee began serving in various roles in school administration. She is now in her eighth year as principal of Sheffield Elementary School in Lynchburg.

“School administrators are on the front lines leading the way in the education of our children across America and the world,At Liberty, we have the ability to influence the next generation by training Christian educators who can go into the world and make an impact for Christ.”

— Dr. Laurie Rice

Lee (pictured above with the school mascot, Tiger) is one of many Champions for Christ who are using their advanced degrees in education to springboard into administration and impact elementary and secondary education at the top levels. While Liberty’s School of Education has prepared students for the classroom, it has also trained hundreds of candidates for higher roles like superintendents, principals, and assistant principals through its master’s and doctoral programs.

“School administrators are on the front lines leading the way in the education of our children across America and the world,” said Dr. Laurie Rice, interim online dean of the School of Education. “At Liberty, we have the ability to influence the next generation by training Christian educators who can go into the world and make an impact for Christ.”

Dr. John Bartlett, principal of Farragut High School, Knoxville, Tenn.

The School of Education offers multiple master’s, doctoral, and postgraduate degrees completely online, so candidates can study at their own pace as they teach in schools and raise their families. Offerings include the Master of Education (M.Ed.), Master of Arts in Teaching (M.A.T.), Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) and Doctor of Philosophy in Education (Ph.D.).

Liberty’s doctoral programs in education are some of the largest of their kind in the country. The top areas of study are curriculum instruction, leadership, and higher education, with each avenue offering customizable programs to meet the vocational needs of students.

“The School of Education at Liberty University, especially the master’s and doctoral programs, is training impact-makers,” said Dr. John Bartlett, who earned his doctorate in educational administration in 2008 and is starting his fourth year as principal at Farragut High School in Knoxville, Tenn. “It’s a great program and prepares people well. It gets people ready for life as a principal. I think Liberty does a good job teaching the foundational skills of leadership.”

Bartlett was named Tennessee State Principal of the Year in 2016, and in 2020 he was recognized as the Regional Principal of the Year.

He recalled growing up watching Liberty founder Jerry Falwell Sr. preach on the “Old Time Gospel Hour” TV broadcast and frequently heard Falwell talk about Liberty University’s mission, Training Champions for Christ.

Dr. Dennis Brown, elementary school principal at Beijing International Bilingual Academy

“That was a very unique vision that Dr. Falwell had,” said Bartlett, who views his job as an extension of that mission. “I think starting Liberty was a God-given vision.”

Education graduates are not only impacting U.S. schools. Dr. Dennis Brown is an elementary school principal at Beijing International Bilingual Academy (BIBA), one of the largest international schools in China. He said pursuing a doctorate from Liberty stemmed from a desire to set an example for his teachers and students. Brown oversees nearly 150 faculty members and 1,000 students.

“I feel that it’s important that we continue to be lifetime learners,” said Brown, who recently earned his master’s and doctorate from Liberty. “I want to set that example for the students at my school and show them that even at my age, I’m still going to school and learning.”

Brown said Liberty’s programs instilled confidence, time management skills, and self-discipline, giving him poise to assertively lead his school in the right direction.

“I do think about representing Liberty while I’m here,” Brown said. “I can’t wait to set foot on campus again. I miss being there.”

As the school with the largest doctoral programs at Liberty, and with thousands of online students and an alumni body reaching all corners of the world, the leadership remains focused on spiritual and academic excellence. Each year, the School of Education chooses a theme that represents its goals. This year’s is “strengthening.”

“We believe that our programs are built on a strong foundation, and we are excited to strengthen our courses and our faculty so that we can continue to bring in more students and ensure that they are ready to make an impact in the field of education when they graduate,” Rice said. “We believe that our focus on academic excellence will create an even bigger demand for our candidates in schools and school districts across the country. We are blessed to work in a field where there is such a great opportunity to impact the future for Christ.”

  • For more information on degree offerings to advance careers in the field of education, visit Liberty.edu/Online.


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