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UNF alumna receives NAPDS 'Outstanding Dissertation Award'

wade headshotDr. Catherine Wade, educator and alumna of the UNF College of Education & Human Services’ Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership program, has recently been awarded the National Association for Professional Development Schools’ (NAPDS) Outstanding Dissertation Award for her dissertation on educator perspectives on the most important elements of their Professional Development School (PDS) partnerships. Wade was presented her award virtually at the annual NAPDS 2021 National Conference on Tuesday, March 30.

Across the country, teacher preparation is changing and high-quality, hands-on experience is central to that change. In collaboration with the public school systems in both Duval and Clay counties, the College of Education and Human Services provides students with intensive clinical practice experiences through partnerships with Professional Development Schools. These mutually beneficial partnerships help further the education profession and its responsibility to advance equity within schools and, by potential extension, the broader community.

Wade’s research into Professional Development Schools serves as a great example of the partnership at work.

Wade has been a career educator for 22 years, including nine years at the elementary level, six years at the secondary level and seven years as a university professor working with novice teachers in the fields of Classroom Planning and Assessment in her home country of Belize.  She has also served as the National Coordinator of Field Experience at the University of Belize for three years. 

In 2016, she enrolled in the Ed.D. Educational Leadership program at UNF and successfully obtained her Educational Doctorate in May, 2020.  During her time at UNF, she served as a graduate assistance in the Center for Urban Education and Policy where she had the opportunity to work with urban and disfranchised communities throughout Duval County, FL.  It is also at UNF that her passion and interest for Professional Development School partnership grew, recognizing it as a possible way to improve on education in both Belize and in Florida. 

Currently, Wade continues to contribute to education both as an online university professor at Galen University in Belize and as an English Language Arts high school teacher for Duval County Public Schools.