Graduate Faculty Focus | Theresa Alban and Jamie Cannon
“I enjoy teaching for Hood because of the high standards set for students and faculty alike and the natural and long standing partnership between Hood College and FCPS to prepare the best school leaders that have a well rounded focus encompassing all stakeholders.”
Theresa Alban, Ph.D. and Jamie Cannon, Esquire
- Educational Leadership (M.S., Certificate)
Theresa Alban, Ph.D. has spent 40 years in public education across four Maryland school systems as a teacher and central office administrator. For the last 10 years she has served as Superintendent of Frederick County Public Schools. She has a bachelor’s in Elementary Education/Special Education, a master's in Educational Administration and Supervision, and a Ph.D. in Measurement, Statistics and Evaluation.
Jamie Cannon, Esquire is the Chief of Staff and Legal Counsel for Frederick County Public Schools. Her education includes a bachelor’s degree in Human Resource Management and Labor Relations, an MBA and a Juris Doctorate degree.
Together they co-teach EDUC 513, School Law in the Educational Leadership graduate program.
As a faculty member, do you have a certain mindset, theory or teaching style?
Theresa Alban, Ph.D.: Both Jamie and I recognize that the content of this course comes alive every day in classrooms across FCPS. Therefore, we want to empower our students to research law and policy, but most importantly to analyze how to apply what they have learned in their experiences as an educator. I guess it goes back to John Dewey...learn by doing!
Jamie Cannon, Esquire: My style is to get the students excited about the law, then show them that legal analysis is a similar skill set to approaching an issue they could encounter as a school administrator. Over the past 20 years I have taught school law for Hood College and have approached teaching the course with two objectives— building future school leaders, and remembering that this is a law course.
What would you like your students to take away from your classes?
Theresa: That the law is not always clear about what is right and what is wrong. It is important to understand the “why” behind the law so that you apply it appropriately.
Jamie: My goal in teaching the class is for students to have an awakening of how much school law is in their everyday world as an educator. I am excited to see them learn to “spot the issue,” reflect and then share how they are viewing a topic differently because of their understanding of the law.
Why Hood College? What made you choose to teach here?
Theresa: The partnership between FCPS and Hood has always been strong and so many of our system leaders are graduates of Hood. By teaching at Hood, I am still able to make a difference for FCPS.
Jamie: I enjoy teaching for Hood because of the high standards set for students and faculty alike, as well as the natural and long-standing partnership between Hood College and FCPS to prepare the best school leaders that have a well-rounded focus encompassing all stakeholders.
Tell us about the experience of co-teaching School Law.
Theresa: Jamie Cannon, my partner, is a phenomenal teacher and passionate about the law. She has been teaching this course for years, and I feel grateful to begin my first year of the course with her. While I may be co-teaching, I am also learning so much from her! I think our co-teaching also benefits the students because we are able to unpack the topics from our unique perspectives in FCPS. The dialogue has been powerful.
Jamie: Co-teaching with the superintendent allows us the opportunity to teach the law and then demonstrate how that topic could intersect the law office with the superintendent’s office.
For example, if a student is disciplined for misbehavior on a social media account, or a teacher for that matter, we discuss the rights of the student or teacher under the law regarding due process, legal representation and then the criteria a superintendent would consider if such action is then appealed to her. We look at how the evidence is evaluated and the law is applied, and discuss why a decision could result in different outcomes based on the information presented.
Inspired by this story and ready to #GOFURTHER in your career? Learn about Hood’s graduate programs, including the Educational Leadership program, by clicking here.
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