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Walden News // Aug 30, 2011

Rita Turner Award: Guiding Students to Effect National Social Change

August 2011—“After working in K–12 public education for more than 35 years as a secondary English teacher and a central office administrator, I would argue that we need to have a stronger vision for our public schools,” Dr. Deanna Boddie says. “I believe that Walden University is a strong partner in building that vision. That is why it is important to communicate our mission of social change to students.” This is what inspires her to mentor doctoral students.

Walden’s 2011 Rita Turner Award was presented to Boddie, a faculty member in the Richard W. Riley College of Education and Leadership, for her work as chair of the dissertation committee for Dr. Valerie Lyle, a Doctor of Education (EdD) graduate, is the recipient of the 2011 Frank Dilley Award for her doctoral study, Teacher and Administrator Perceptions of Administrative Responsibilities for Implementing the Jacobs Model of Curriculum Mapping.

Mentoring As a Partnership to Explore Mutual Interests
Boddie accepted the opportunity to serve as chair of the doctoral study committee because she had worked to implement an improvement process for instructional programs in several suburban school districts while she was a central office administrator and is deeply interested in the subject.

“A significant research gap exists concerning implementation problems that education leaders in K–12 school districts face when installing districtwide initiatives related to changes in curricular, instructional and assessment practices,” Boddie explains. “In particular, little research has been conducted about how administrators and teachers in public school districts align national and state standards and assessments with district curricula, instruction and assessments for specific courses as mandated by the federal requirements of the No Child Left Behind Act.”

Lyle’s dissertation revealed that research should drive practice. “The findings of her study have significant implications for school administrators and teacher-leaders. It demonstrates they need to be proactive in creating an environment conducive to positive social change in order to improve teaching and learning,” Boddie says. “This study found that implementation of a districtwide initiative requires school district leaders identify and address potential change barriers before implementation begins.”

“I really enjoyed working with Valerie,” Boddie says. “My role as the chair was to support her at every step in the process.”

The feeling was mutual. “Dr. Boddie helped me organize and understand how to present each piece of research separately and weave in themes,” Lyle says. “She was very quick to respond when I would submit something. She made herself available for phone conversations. I felt like she really cared and thought my study was of value.”

“Someday I hope that we will have common agreement across this country of the curricular content of K–12 courses,” Boddie concludes. “Students who attend public schools in the United States deserve nothing less.”

About the Award
One of two awards honoring the founders of Walden University, the Rita Turner Award is bestowed annually upon the faculty chair of the dissertation committee of the recipient of the Frank Dilley Award. This award honors the total commitment to the founding and sustaining of Walden by Rita Turner, co-founder of the university. Mrs. Turner’s shared vision of the university, careful attention to major organizational issues, supervision of complex operational details, and concern for fiscal accountability made it possible not only for the university to flourish during its first two decades, but to grow into a global institution.

Read more about the Rita Turner Award and past recipients.