Dr. Paul Montgomery heads up UL's newest doctoral program, the EdD in Educational Leadership. ultoday.com spoke with her recently.

Tell us about yourself.

I am very passionate about education and the educational process. I tell people across the country that this thing called "education" is important work, important stuff.

I'm the Department Head for Educational Foundations and Leadership at UL. I have 17 years of public school experience, as a teacher, guidance counselor, assistant principal, and principal. This is my sixth year at UL. I am very proud of the work that has occurred in our Department, particularly with regard to our new graduate programs in Educational Leadership for both the Master's program, and our new EdD.

How so?

Our graduate students are doing extremely well. For our Master's, we have successfully graduated one cohort and our second cohort will cross the stage in December. Our graduates are quickly being sought after to take Educational Leadership positions, and they are passing the SLLA, the School Leadership Licensure Assessment. Louisiana has the second-highest cut-off score in the US-- a score of 168-- and our students are passing it. Of the scores we have so far, 100% of the current group who have taken it have passed, and last semester we had only one of 21 who failed, but later passed it.

With the EdD, we are working very closely with SLU, sharing the expertise of two Universities to strengthen the program, and broaden our knowledge base. Between the two schools, we have experts in all areas.

I'm also very proud of our new faculty, who are bringing in national reputations to the college, and are adding to the strong core we had already assembled.

Tell us about them.

Dr. Robert Slater came here from Texas A&M. He had a number of offers from well-known universities, but he chose UL. He brings us a rich history of well-published articles.

Dr. Diane Olivier, whose major area is Professional Learning Communities. These are the result of a strategy for organizing assessments around professionals in a school. They look at the problems in the school, and after research and reflection, make recommendations. The important thing is that it's data-driven. Dr. Olivier is also well-published. She has a couple of books out on the topic of Professional Learning Communities, a number of articles, and does national presentations at conferences, schools, workshops, and seminars.

Then there's Dr. Mitzi Trahan. She's new to our faculty, and has been hired to assist in the further development of our research core in the doctoral program. She doesn't have a national reputation-- yet-- but her statistical knowledge and skills are second to none. She is fantastic with that stats stuff.

Then there's our longer-standing faculty, Dr. Roslin Growe, Dr. Ron Perry, Dr. Nathan Roberts, Dr. Frank Delfavoro, Dr, Jim Flaitz, Dr. Irv Esters, and Dr. Jeff Sandoz. They're extraordinary team players, and major contributors to the new national recognition that we are beginning to enjoy here at UL. We've done a lot of work across the country in our respective research areas, and are often highly sought-after for our opinions, ideas, and skills.

I enjoy my colleagues and our students here tremendously. I think that the work we do is significant and important.

Talk about the Picard Center.

[Eyes light up] The Picard Center is a new facility that will house a number of entities, including the Educational Leadership faculty and staff. We're looking forward to being in a new facility, and to work with the data structures that will be housed there.

The other entities that will be housed there will also provide for new collaborations, and sharing of ideas across disciplines, and with the other agencies there. Irv Esters will have a counseling center there, Doug Williams will have CILAT out there, and there will be others.

You attended UL, and now you're back. Talk about that.

I graduated in secondary Social Studies education in 1984. I loved it. I loved UL then, I love it now.

First and foremost, it was an opportunity, an opportunity to get a good solid education from instructors who cared about education. That's what happened to me then, it was an opportunity.

And now, it's the chance to offer that same opportunity to others, to become productive citizens, and to reach their goals and aspirations in life.