Graduate Faculty and Student Focus | Frank Vetter and Shabana Sayed
"Attending Hood College has helped me to connect and collaborate with other FCPS educators across the county. I believe that my time at Hood will help me in my career because of the connections I have been able to make with FCPS leaders and administrators."
Frank Vetter, Adjunct professor of Educational Leadership and Shabana Sayed, M.S. Educational Leadership
- Educational Leadership (M.S., C)
Frank Vetter, an adjunct professor for Hood’s Educational Leadership program, and Shabana Sayed, a current student in the Educational Leadership program, are both involved in the opening of Frederick's Middle School Blended Virtual Program.
Frank Vetter has been an educator for 29 years, serving as a principal for 20 years. In June he was appointed to organize and open the district’s Middle School Blended Virtual Program. Shabana Sayed has been an educator for Frederick County Public Schools for eight years, taking on multiple leadership roles such as Team Leader and the Science Department Chair at Walkersville Middle School.
Why did you choose Hood College and this program, either as an adjunct professor or as a student?
Frank Vetter: I inquired about teaching at Hood College because FCPS has had a great partnership with the college for many years. Many of our new administrators are graduates of the Hood College Educational Leadership Program. Personally, I love teaching different courses related to educational leadership.
Shabana Sayed: For me, choosing to earn my master's from Hood College was based on a number of factors. Hood offered a great teaching certification program that I felt really prepared me to be a strong teacher. When I began to explore graduate programs, Hood offered a unique partnership with Frederick County Public Schools.
Knowing that many of the courses I would be taking were going to be taught by FCPS leaders and administrators, such as Mr. Vetter, made the decision an easy one. Being able to learn about leadership from instructors who have direct and applicable experience is invaluable.
What do you enjoy most about being at Hood College?
Shabana: I have really enjoyed taking courses with instructors who have been able to provide valuable insight regarding leadership within Frederick County Public Schools. I also appreciate how convenient it is to access the Hood College Campus as a Frederick County resident. I have also had wonderful instructors throughout my time as a student at Hood College which really made for a great experience overall.
Tell us about the new FCPS Virtual School and how you both became involved in the school.
Frank: In the Fall of 2020, all FCPS classes were taught virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Educators recognized that the virtual approach met the needs for some students better than in-person learning. That was the impetus to the program.
Once I was appointed principal of the program in early June, I began to collaborate with district leaders in school leadership, curriculum, organizational leadership, special education, student services, advanced academics, English learners and more to prepare the program to receive students in about seven weeks.
One of the most important efforts entailed providing robust professional learning for our 19 teachers to prepare them for teaching in the virtual environment. There are certain strategies and approaches that help to maximize learning online, so we wanted to make certain our teachers were using practices informed by the latest research. In addition, we had to learn how to build community for all of our students since we draw from all of the 13 middle schools and only meet online.
Shabana: Like all educators, I embraced virtual instruction at the start of the 2020-21 school year with great uncertainty. Prior to the start of the year, I was able to work closely with Mr. Vetter, who was the principal at Walkersville Middle School at the time, which really helped me to prepare for the changes that virtual teaching required.
As Mr. Vetter shared, FCPS leadership recognized that, despite the circumstances, some students thrived in a virtual learning model. When I learned that FCPS was planning to open a Middle School Blended Virtual Program, I saw this as a unique and exciting opportunity to broaden my teaching experience while also allowing me to serve a role in opening a new program that will benefit students across the county.
Once I learned that Mr. Vetter was appointed principal of the program, I knew that this was something I wanted to be a part of. He is an incredible leader and working with him continues to be very valuable and fulfilling. I am excited to be part of a program that is using informed practices and instructional strategies to serve our students!
How do you think attending Hood College does or will help you in your career and life?
Shabana: Attending Hood College has helped me to connect and collaborate with other FCPS educators across the county. I believe that my time at Hood will help me in my career because of the connections I have been able to make with FCPS leaders and administrators.
I aspire to become an administrator one day and being able to learn from current leaders is invaluable. Their insight, experiences and recommendations have helped to prepare me for what my future role with FCPS might entail. The structure and demands of the graduate program have also helped to prepare me as I continue to advance in my career. The courses I have taken have really highlighted the many facets of educational leadership while also providing me the application-based opportunities that will be practical moving forward.
What would you like your students to take away from your classes?
Frank: I want them to have the absolute best learning experience possible with the MSBVP. This starts with relationships, thorough standards-based planning and implementing instruction that helps all learners to achieve and grow.
Any fun facts that you would like to add?
Frank: We just had a competition for students to design our program logo, and the winning design named us the “Digital Dragons.” I love the enthusiasm of our kids.