Brandi Howard, an alumnus of New Brockton High School, graduated May 7, 2022 from Auburn University with her Doctor of Philosophy degree in administration of supervision and curriculum.
Howard’s dissertation was entitled “Professional Learning Communities: An Examination of 21st Century and Traditional Facility Designs.”
“I chose this topic because educators can no longer be isolated,” Howard said. “To improve teaching and learning, educators must share best practices with colleagues and sometimes model those practices to improve student learning.”
She said as an elementary educator she can attest to the benefits of collaboration with her grade level team, special education teachers, interventionists, etc.
“My colleagues helped me provide different learning opportunities for students at their current level and those practices improved my students understanding of the standards,” Howard said.
Additionally, she said she was interested in building design because she has taught in a traditional, 21st century, and pod layouts.
“I wanted to examine collaboration in those layouts and see if the layout of the school fosters teacher collaboration or is it the collaborative structures (when to meet, where to meet, and the physical and human resources),” Howard said. “My study found that the collaborative structures that were in place facilitated meaningful discourse among educators.”
She added, “teachers need other teachers as thinking partners to provide quality instruction to students for student achievement.”
In a leadership role, Howard said she could better support her teachers with this doctorate degree.
“As a teacher you can only do so much,” she said. “We see changes need to be made in leveling the educational field. All students need equal access to education at the current level.”
Howard has been an elementary educator for 11 years. Currently, she is an assistant principal in Ramstein, Germany for the Department of Defense Education Activity. She has been in Germany since September 2021.
Brandi is the daughter of Cal Howard of New Brockton.
“I plan to use my research to support educators as they identify best practices for improving teaching and learning for all students,” she said.