New Albany-Plain Local Superintendent April Domine received her doctorate of education degree May 9 from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn.
Domine was enrolled in the program when hired by the district in January 2011. Her focus was on leadership and educational administration.
"It was a very grueling but rewarding process, with the rigor of the program and all the learning," Domine said. "I'm ecstatic to have reached this point."
Domine said she spent 18 weekends in Kentucky as part of her study, working with the Jefferson County school district in Louisville.
The district piloted team teaching with a focus on improving curriculum and student performance in 13 of the district's 100 schools.
Domine said she worked with Vanderbilt researchers to study the pilot project and recommend how to improve it before it was implemented across the Jefferson County district.
Domine said the project has direct applications to New Albany-Plain Local, which already has developed collaborations and programs to share student assessments and planned intervention.
She said she learned things from the study that could help New Albany move forward, to keep improving instruction and student curriculum while focusing on collaboration among teachers.
Board member Mark Ryan said Domine's degree required her to study a program rather than just completing research.
"From a district perspective, it's a real enhancement," Ryan said. "It took her some time to do, but there was a return to us.
"That's not always the case when people achieve certifications. Quite often it is, but this has direct applications."