What program do you teach at Concordia University St. Paul? What drew you to this field of study?What keeps you excited about it?
I currently teach in the Ed.S. Educational Leadership program. I’m currently a practitioner in the field, having served 21 years as a principal and currently as an assistant superintendent.
What initially drew me to this field and what continues to fuel my passion is the ability and the importance of connecting with people. Making a difference in the lives of both adults and children is the most worthwhile experience than an individual can have, I say. I believe that educators have a tremendous impact on the lives of children. I embolden the African proverb: “And how are the children?”
How will your program better prepare/equip educators for the current climate were in (specifically with COVID-19 and the move to online/hybrid learning)?
The educational specialist program provides exposure and opportunities for students to employ online instructional methodologies that lend themselves to increased learning in a virtual format. Concordia University St. Paul has provided this format for their programs for over 10 years. I firmly believe that when we know better, we do better, and this applies to students’ teachers and also leaders.
What attracted you to Concordia University St. Paul to teach at? What sets them apart?
I was drawn to Concordia University St. Paul for the close relationship with their students and putting their students in relevant and real leadership situations. I recognize this as a result of supervising someone that was completing their administrative licensure through Concordia.
Concordia University St. Paul provides an opportunity to include adaptive leadership opportunities and mindsets in their programs, courses, and with their students. The opportunity to incorporate this level of thought in their system sets Concordia University St. Paul apart from other programs in the area.
What is your professional background (including degrees) as an educator?
After graduating from Wiley College in Marshall Texas, I served as a math teacher in Dallas public schools for two years, and in my first year I was awarded the honor of being named a finalist for “New Teacher of the Year” in Dallas public schools. Shortly after that I moved to Minnesota to complete a master’s degree in teacher leadership.
I completed the Principal Licensure program at Saint Mary’s University and was one of the youngest principals in the state during that time. I completed my doctoral studies at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities campus in Educational Policy and Administration. My doctoral dissertation is titled Perceived Influences of Relationships between District and School Level Administrators on the Achievement of Urban Black Students.
Tell us a little about yourself. Why did you become interested in education?
I was born in Dallas, Texas, to parents Bill and Elizabeth Brookins. My growth was nurtured by my older brother (by 3 years) Anthony, who was my first teacher. I attended my neighborhood school from elementary through high school where I connected with teachers and peers alike.
I am a husband and father of four sons and continually seek ways to better myself. Daily I work towards seeing to it that children develop strong foundations academically, socially, and emotionally as a result of their interaction with me and/or my leadership. I’m a strong believer in education and the power that it has to literally change lives and give hope. I believe that learning is a natural process that takes place daily. As an educator, I believe it is my to job to maximize the opportunities for students to acquire new knowledge.
What would you tell prospective students considering your program about yourself? What’s something that students and colleagues should know about you?
If you desire to have relevant and real administrative experiences that will help prepare you to have a positive impact on children at all levels, then the Concordia University St. Paul program is right for you.
What advice do you have for students interested in pursuing their educational leadership degree? How can people stand out in this field?
I believe that individuals that are pursuing educational leadership degrees should do so for the benefit of deepening their knowledge and beliefs so that they can add to the field of education. Acquiring a degree at this level is the prerequisite for adding to the body of knowledge in education. Potential leaders should always look to give back to the profession and bring others along. Having this type of mindset is what enables an individual to stand out in this field.
Dr. Tyrone Brookins
Concordia University St. Paul, MN