Alumni Spotlight: Valerie A. Eckman '07 '12
Director of Curriculum
Interboro School District
My Widener Experience
why did you decide to pursue a graduate degree in higher education leadership at widener?
In 2004, I joined the Interboro family and quickly embraced the mantra “Excellence and Buc Pride.” In an effort to grow professionally to better meet the needs of my students, I decided to pursue studies in school counseling. The convenient location, flexibility, and expertise of the faculty led me to choose Widener. Upon completing my coursework in 2007, it felt natural to remain at Widener to pursue my principal certification and doctorate. These programs reaffirmed my commitment to promoting students’ social-emotional and academic growth. The competencies that I developed at Widener continue to guide my service to the district.
what is your favorite memory at widener? why?
My favorite memory from Widener was hugging my then one-year old daughter after receiving my doctorate in May 2012. The moment was truly a testament to the sacrifices that my parents and husband had made to enable me to realize my academic and personal goals. What a humbling and empowering experience to celebrate learning and female achievement with my daughter! I hope that the pictures that captured this moment one day serve as a reminder to her that “determination and commitment to an unrelenting pursuit of your goal…enable you to attain the success you seek.”
My Professional Experience
what advice would you give a prospective student considering your graduate program?
A career in education will present its challenges. Persevere and serve as a model of a lifelong learning for your students and colleagues. Commit yourself to your professional studies to continue to stay current in the field and grow as a reflective practitioner. Always remember that you are making a difference—celebrate the daily successes of students in your classroom. You will delight in the major life accomplishments of former students who have grown and are now making their own mark on the world.
how have leadership skills learned at widener helped you to succeed?
In recent years, the implementation of the PA Core, heightened emphasis on standardized testing, and the introduction of a variety of state-mandated professional development initiatives have markedly changed the landscape of public education. To serve as a leader during a time of great change, one must be both flexible and persistent while maintaining a commitment to collaborative inquiry and an ability to see the “bigger picture.” My experiences at Widener University helped me to expand my capacities and competencies in the aforementioned areas. Widener continues to provide a professional network that prompts reflection and collegial discourse.