WWU Alumna Shares Educational Administration Program Experience

Lorin Lindell & Alyssa Evans

Educational Administration alumnus Amy Reisner decided to attend Western Washington University’s Bellingham campus after hearing recommendations from colleagues. However, Reisner knew about Western’s Woodring College of Education’s reputation well before hearing about it from others.

It was during Reisner’s time at Western’s Bellingham campus that she not only learned the value of research skills and improved her ability to do literature reviews, but learned how to be a successful principal.

One professor who stood out to Reisner while a student was Warren Aller, who chose readings that caused Reisner to think in-depth. Some of Aller’s sayings and lessons have stuck with Reisner to this day. The message Reisner took from Aller’s teaching is to be true to herself.

“If my heart and mind are aligned with what is right for kids, and I stand for something, be willing to get behind it. That doesn’t mean it will be easy but I will at least be able to look myself in the mirror in the morning,” Reisner said. “I think that is the key to being a successful principal. Be easy to relate to, understanding, communicate your vision, listen to the stories of others [and] find a way to move people in the way they can be moved.”

Beyond finding purpose, Reisner shared some other tips for success in the program stating that time was the biggest obstacle for her while she was a student.

“I had to wait until the time was right for my family for me to make this career move,” Reisner said. “One tip for a new student would be to carefully plan out the courses you plan on taking.  Knowing that some courses are offered in the summer and which ones can really help you balance school and family time better.”

For Reisner, some of the most rewarding moments of being a Western student have been looking back at what she’s accomplished.

“Whether it was a presentation, project, or conversation stemming from an in-basket in class, my engagement in the learning only reaffirmed that I was making the right decision to pursue the principalship,” Reisner said. “I am forever grateful that the instructors helped me stay in the moment and develop the skills and dispositions I needed to fully maximize my potential. I felt like the journey was the reward.”