Superintendent, Upsala Area School District
"The coursework provided a high-quality knowledge base and the internship provided practical experiences that I still rely on today. The CSP program is an excellent preparatory program for aspiring educational leaders and I highly recommend the program as often as I can."
Vern Capelle, MAEd ‘13, EdS ‘15 was recently named an Administrator of Excellence Award by the Minnesota Association of School Administrators. He describes his career as an educator and the impact of his CSP degrees in the interview below.
Describe your current job role and responsibilities:
Currently, I am the Superintendent of the Upsala Area School District. In addition, I also continue to teach science classes through the College in the Schools program.
What has your career path been?
I have spent my entire career in Upsala, starting as a science teacher and basketball coach in 1985. I taught science classes in the district for 26 years prior to moving into an administrative role as the K-12 Dean of Students in 2011. I assumed the role of Superintendent in 2015.
What motivated you to continue your education and pursue these Concordia degrees?
My motivation centered on a desire to expand the potential impact I could have on students. As a teacher/coach, I felt that my impact was limited to the students in my classes and on the teams that I coached. As an administrator, I could potentially impact all of our students and also have an impact on the school culture.
Why did you choose CSP?
I select CSP primarily because of the structure of the program. I did not have the time to be able to attend classes on campus or to follow a more traditional course schedule. The schedule for the Educational Leadership Masters and Educational Specialist–Superintendent Licensure programs allowed me to obtain my advanced degrees working from home and enabled me to continue to complete my duties in the district.
How would you describe your CSP experience?
Excellent! I felt that the coursework was meaningful and provided me with the essential knowledge and skills to be successful as a school administrator.
Who were some of the people at CSP that influenced you the most, and how?
Due to my program being a distance learning based program, I really didn’t have a lot of contact with CSP faculty and staff. However, Dr. Jerry Robicheau provided me with a lot of guidance as I completed my internships and portfolio reviews, and also supported me as I pursued my licensure as a Superintendent.
How has your CSP education impacted your life and career?
The Educational Leadership program provided me with the knowledge and skills necessary as I prepared for my role as a Superintendent. The coursework provided a high-quality knowledge base and the internship provided practical experiences that I still rely on today. The CSP program is an excellent preparatory program for aspiring educational leaders and I highly recommend the program as often as I can.
What does it mean to you to win the Administrator of Excellence Award from the Minnesota Association of School Administrators?
I am incredibly humbled and honored to be awarded the Administrator of Excellence Award. I appreciate MASA and my colleagues in Region 5 for nominating for this honor. Not only does this award recognize my efforts as an administrator, but also the incredible team of educators that I work with every day. I owe them a lot of the credit for my success and the success of our schools.