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Arkansas State University


A-State Faculty

Dr. Joe Nichols, Professor

"I want students to leave my courses prepared to utilize the skills they have learned that will prepare them for success in the principalship and/or superintendency."

Degrees Held:

  • Ed.D. in Educational Leadership — Saint Louis University, 2000
  • Ed.S. in School District Administration — Southeast Missouri State University, 1990
  • MAEd. in Special Education — Southeast Missouri State University, 1977
  • BSEd. in Physical Education — University of Mississippi, 1974

Career Highlights:

  • Chair — Missouri Special Education Directors
  • Chair — Missouri Special Education Advisory Council
  • Author — Co-author of 27 peer reviewed publications

Which online degree program(s) do you teach?

MSE in SPED – Instructional Specialist K-12

  • Which classes do you teach online?

    ELFN 7583: Evaluation Educational Program and System
    ELAD 7043: Management of Operational Systems
    ELAD 6073: School Law

  • What do you want students to learn in your classes?

    I want students to leave my courses prepared to utilize the skills they have learned that will prepare them for success in the principalship and/or superintendency. It is my desire that all course activities and assignments are relative to "real-world" experiences that will be encountered in the field of educational leadership—both at the building and district levels.

  • Why did you start teaching?

    I started teaching in the public schools because I liked the process of molding the lives of young people who came from a variety of backgrounds. Really good teachers and coaches who helped mold my life were personal career motivators. Similarly, really good school leaders and coaches provided me with the desire to begin my career in educational leadership, both at the public school level and in higher education.

  • What advice would you give to those considering this program?

    Come to our program expecting to be taught, and intentionally engage in the learning activities offered in our courses. Know the program expectations, read emails often and stay engaged. Don't allow yourself to become detached from your courses, peers and professors.

  • What qualities make someone particularly successful in educational leadership?

    1. Knowledge of educational laws and policies
    2. Understanding diverse learners and their learning styles
    3. Understanding the various cultures that are present among students and faculty
    4. Understanding that everyone you lead deserves to be treated with dignity
    5. MOST IMPORTANT: You are servant leader—you are employed and paid to serve those individuals under your care.
  • What do you think is the biggest challenge that educators face today?

    I think the greatest challenge faced in the profession today is to keep all stakeholders focused on student achievement with the realization that education is not a one-size-fits-all process.

  • What is the one book you think everyone should read?

    "The Tipping Point" by Malcom Gladwell

  • Tell us something interesting about yourself that your students might not know about you.

    I was a college athlete and played on a baseball team at Ole Miss that competed in the College World Series.

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