Vice principal at Dove Academy receives his master’s degree from OU

Paul Ezel, vice principal of Dove Academy in Detroit, received his master’s degree from Oakland University in May 2019. As the lead mentor at Dove Academy, Ezel returned to college to improve his skills as an educator.

I had heard of Teacher Leadership though connections and PD presenters offered through OU,” Ezel said. “ I was looking for ways to step up as a teacher in my building when I applied for my Master’s in Teacher Leadership.”

Dove Academy is one of Oakland University’s public school academies and strives to enable success in every aspect of their students’ lives. Ezel serves as the vice principal at the academy and is a favorite of many students.

“My OU master’s degree was the catalyst to me being named dean of students to begin this school year,” Ezel said. “The tools, resources and protocols I used as dean contributed to me being promoted to vice principal only a few months into the year.”

Ezel applied for this master’s program to learn more about leadership in an educational setting. The program focuses on building these skills and instilling them in students.

“I feel that teacher leaders are the real drivers of schools at a building level,” Ezel said. “I feel that great teams and teachers can run a school and work together to make the best decisions for our students.  I was looking for ways to step up as a teacher in my building when I applied for my master’s in teacher leadership at OU.”

OU’s teacher leadership program is a two-year master’s program that trains teachers in important skills, such as promoting diversity in the classroom, self-care, ethical leadership and team building.

“Some of the most valuable lessons were around building and maintaining relationships with colleagues,” Ezel said. “Self-care is, of course, important but fostering useful and meaningful relationships can really take leadership to a different level.”

Ezel’s decision to attend OU for his master’s degree was prompted by a simple email.

“I received an email about applying and receiving a scholarship, so I thought ‘why not?’” Ezel said. “I was really impressed with the campus and how every instructor was willing to help in any way possible. OU has an amazing campus and a lot of resources to use, too.  They made sure that we always had what we needed to continue to build and grow. I was able to make useful contacts and found numerous was to help my school and my staff.”

In addition to the importance of its lessons, the teacher leadership program is also accessible to educators with busy schedules. The program is available as a hybrid course that combines textbook readings with online courses.

“My parents and family always modeled great work ethic, but Oakland University provided me with the framework I needed to become a leader in a dynamic educational environment,” Ezel said. “I’m forever thankful for all OU has provided for me and know that I can improve the lives of my staff and students moving forward.”