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Master's Degree Adds Credibility In Decision Making, According To Educator

Doug Kirk is the assistant principal for counseling and student support at Cardinal Newman High School, a Catholic co-educational (grades 9 – 12) college preparatory school in Santa Rosa, California.

(Photo Courtesy of Doug Kirk)

Kirk worked as an English and history high school teacher. "I felt that I would have more employment opportunities with a master's degree," said Kirk. He decided to return to school and earned his first master's degree in counseling and psychology from Santa Clara University.

Catholic teaching has been the focus of Kirk's career in education for the past four decades. Kirk felt he was blessed with leadership skills and is a creative thinker with a persevering personality. As changes occurred at Cardinal Newman there was a need and opportunity for Kirk to move into leadership. He earned his second master's degree in administration and education from the University of San Francisco.

For those in teaching positions who are considering returning to school to earn a master's degree, Kirk offered this advice, "If you are currently teaching, understand that if your master's is a step to an administrative role, your student-classroom contact time will be compromised. Also the traditional 'Summer Vacation' months will be reduced as your administrative role expands."

Challenges do exist, even for teachers, and Kirk said, "At the time I was enrolled in the master's program, I was serving as a teacher, counselor, admin and coach. My family of six and the many diverse activities made for a challenging schedule, as well. In regards to the coursework, the curriculum varied from very applicable to more obscure in my professional application."

Upon reflection, Kirk said, "The biggest reward for earning the master's degree was the fact that a master's degree adds credibility to the decision-making process. The sense of completion and the professional "confidence" that travels with an advanced degree is key in a successful leadership role."

Robin D. Everson is a native Chicagoan who resides in Dallas, Texas. Her appreciation for art, food, wine, people and places has helped her become a well-respected journalist. A life-long lover of education, Robin seeks to learn and enlighten others about culture. You can find her work at 


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