Taft Doctor of Education Graduate Interview

Taft University Alumn and school superintendent Louise Bennicoff-Nan, talks with The School Administrator about her experiences as she earned her Ed.D. degree at a distance. The following excerpts are from the September 2010 issue of The School Administrator magazine, published by the American Association of School Administrators.

I chose distance education for my doctoral program because at the time I was a single parent of a 13-year-old and a 15-year-old. Some of my friends in school administration were enrolled in a program meeting Friday nights and Saturdays every other weekend at a university in San Francisco, and they encouraged me to join them, but I could not see myself allowing two teenagers to be home alone and left to their own devices overnight.

I made the right choice, because during my participation in an alternative graduate program, they grew into successful young adults. I set the expectation for college-level work in my home, which they successfully followed. Now 26 and 28, both are well-educated professionals, and I am grateful that distance learning gave me the opportunity to meet my academic goals while continuing to be a good parent.

While I missed the interaction of classmates during my graduate courses, the advantage of having so much reading, independent research and writing in each course was apparent when it was time to do my dissertation, which I opted to do on computer-adaptive testing. I was well-prepared. I found my preparation to stand in stark contrast to the experiences of numerous colleagues, who went through traditional doctoral programs and then were unprepared or unmotivated to do a dissertation and thus never completed their degrees.

I had a chance to participate in a full doctoral experience, including the comprehensive exam, a traditional dissertation and the defense in front of a committee. While my program was academically strong, my instructors’ practical experience left me well-suited to be successful in the superintendency, which I attained in just over a year after completing my degree.

Read the full article here: http://www.aasa.org/SchoolAdministratorArticle.aspx?id=16376.

Taft President Elected to Board of Education

David L. Boyd, President of The Taft University System, narrowly defeated incumbent Alexandria Coronado for a seat on the five-member Orange County Board of Education.

Boyd, running as an independent, defeated the heavily favored Coronado by slightly over 1,000 votes (50.7% to 49.3%). Coronado, the current President of the Board, is a veteran Republican insider who has been a member of the Board for eight years.

Boyd relied on a grassroots, largely Internet, campaign emphasizing fiscal responsibility, tolerance and respect.

The Orange County Board of Education is the elected board for the County Department of Education. It approves an annual budget exceeding $250,000,000 and shares governance with the County Superintendent of Schools. Schools under the Board serve more than 160,000 students, and the Board partners with local county districts to serve over 500,000 students at the K-12 level.

“I’m looking forward to working with my fellow Board members, Superintendent William Habermehl and staff,” Boyd said. “ I feel fortunate that the Department has a well respected superintendent and a very experienced and diverse Board.”

Doctor of Education Scholarship Winner Announced

William Howard Taft University is pleased to announce their Tenth Annual Roger J. Duthoy Scholarship Opportunity recipient is Jedediah Palmer from Tatitlek, Alaska. Mr. Palmer impressed the scholarship review committee with his view of administration and instructors working together to create a cyclical process of continuous improvement.

Mr. Palmer began his career in education as a substitute teacher and coach. He currently wears many different hats in his school district; such as, Principal, teacher, mentor, technology coordinator, among others. His expansive wealth of knowledge in many facets of education is impressive and worthy of this award.

As a young educator, Mr. Palmer adapted the teaching philosophy that “clear parameters for student behavior are essential for fluid interaction within the classroom”. He has continued to carry this and other great teaching tools with him as he transitioned into his administrative position. He values the Administrator/ Instructor relationship and believes that student learning occurs when everybody works together.

William Howard Taft University was very impressed by Mr. Palmer’s dedication to the educational system and his overall attitude towards learning and improving his craft. The University is proud to have Mr. Palmer grant this year’s scholarship award to such a deserving student.

Master of Education Scholarship Winners Announced

Dr. Barry P. Resnick, Dean of William Howard Taft University’s School of Education, announced the the recipients of the institution’s Master of Education Scholarship. For the first time, two full scholarships were offered – one for teachers employed at public or private institutions, and one specifically for teachers employed at Montessori schools.

William Howard Taft University holds annual scholarship opportunities. To learn more about the available opportunities and other programs that the University offers, please contact Jen Wolff at (877) 894-TAFT (8238).

Master of Education Scholarship

Dr. Barry P. Resnick, Dean of William Howard Taft University’s Boyer Graduate School of Education, announced that the recipient of the institution’s Master of Education Scholarship Opportunity is June Gilfillan. Ms. Gilfillan is currently a teacher of students with moderate to severe disabilities in Grass Valley, California. Beginning her career in teaching in 1999, she has taught at every level, from Preschool to High School, and has recently begun mentoring new teachers in her district. Her experience and dedication to the field of education were inspiring and deserving of the award.

Gilfillan impressed the scholarship review committee with her unique teaching styles that reach students with disabilities to help them flourish in and out of the classroom. She has designed and implemented an onsite work program for her students which allow them to work while completing course requirements. She received the approval of her superiors and raised the funds to launch the program for her disabled students, and it has proven to be a success.

In 2009, Ms. Gilfillan began mentoring current and future educators in her area. She shares her enthusiasm for creative approaches and solving difficult behaviors with these new and aspiring teachers as they begin their journey into the classroom. She is a great example of what a teacher should strive to be and William Howard Taft University is honored to have her as a student.

Montessori Educators Master of Education Scholarship

William Howard Taft University is pleased to announce their Montessori Educators Scholarship recipient is Diane McNamara from Port Jervis, New York. A longtime Montessori Educator, Ms. McNamara’s extensive experience in the education field and dedication to her students made her deserving of the award.

McNamara began her career directing summer camps in New York City’s Park and Recreation Department. From there she took her love of teaching and children to a Kindergarten classroom where she found her passion for teaching. Ms. McNamara then transitioned to Montessori Education where she became a head teacher for pre-K children. Her passion for teaching allowed her to move up to her current position as the Director of Education.

Ms. McNamara created and implemented an art program at her school. The children in the program are able to express themselves as McNamara creates learning experiences through art. She is also actively involved community service projects and in her school’s Parent/Teacher Organization, enabling parents to become more involved with their child’s education. Her passion for education and her commitment to students is exemplary and Taft University is pleased to have her as our inaugural Montessori Education Scholarship Winner.

New Doctor of Business Administration Program


Mr. Jerry Alley, President of William Howard Taft University is pleased to announce the launch of a new Doctorate in Business Administration (DBA) program.

The Doctorate of Business Administration Program is the result of a growing demand, world-wide, for a directed independent study doctorate program to meet the needs of managers by combining the theoretical and practical aspects of operating a business. The Program is designed for mid or senior managers for immediate application to their professional duties. It examines business leadership through the eyes of those who are charged with leading their business through the challenges of the future.

New Undergraduate Business Program

Mr. Jerome Alley, President of William Howard Taft University is pleased to announce the recent approval a new undergraduate program in the School of Business.

The online Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (BSBA) Degree Completion Program is a directed independent study undergraduate degree program.

It is designed to benefit students who have already earned a minimum of 60 Semester credits (or an Associates Degree) from an appropriately accredited institution.

This new degree program presents the contemporary concepts and skills required in today’s modern business environments. Students have the opportunity to select a wide variety of electives that allow them to tailor the degree to their specific interests.