Margaret-Mary Sulentic Dowell Serves on Volunteers in Public Schools Panel


Photo of Margaret-Mary Sulentic Dowell, PhD

 Margaret-Mary Sulentic Dowell, PhD

Baton Rouge, LA -- School of Education faculty member, Dr. Margaret-Mary Sulentic Dowell, professor of Literacy, Leadership and Urban Education, recently participated as an invited panelist in a Volunteers in Public Schools (VIPS) Partners in Education Luncheon entitled, “School Climate Matters.” One of four local educators invited to participate by executive director of VIPS, Judy K. Bethly, Sulentic Dowell shared her expertise regarding the impact of school climate on student well-being and academic achievement with audience participants and panelists.

“School climate is a hugely important issue,” declared Sulentic Dowell, “and school climate is also a very complex construct. Research indicates that a positive school climate helps all students feel safe – socially, emotionally, and physically – but is particularly constructive for students deemed at-risk due to social factors, environmental conditions, and academic threats to success.”

Sulentic Dowell was joined by other local experts on the panel, including; Dr. VerJanis Peoples – Director of Southern University’s School of Education, Mr. Adam Smith – Associate Superintendent of East Baton Rouge Parish School System (EBRPSS), and Mr. Lamont Cole – East Baton Rouge Councilman and Director & Chief Operating Officer of the Community School for Apprenticeship Learning. “In my research, the school-level administrator, the principal, is pivotal in establishing, nurturing, and maintaining a positive school climate,” added Sulentic Dowell, “and serving on this panel with esteemed local colleagues was an honor and affirmation of my research in this area.”

Named Cecil "Pete" Taylor Endowed Professor in 2018, Sulentic Dowell has consistently pursued the efficacy of literacy leadership as part of her research. She was Assistant Superintendent of 64 elementary schools in EBRPSS prior to joining the LSU faculty and has recently published The Literacy Leadership Guide for Elementary Principals: Reclaiming Teacher Autonomy and Joy (2019, Rowman and Littlefield) with Dr. Tynisha Meidl of St. Norbert College and Dr. Jason Lau, Principal in the West De Pere Public School System in Wisconsin.

Dr. Neil Mathews, director of LSU’s School of Education commented, “Dr. Sulentic Dowell was recently appointed to coordinate the PhD in P-12 School Leadership because of her experience and expertise in school leadership.”

The School of Education offers a 100% on-line Masters Degree in Educational Administration, an Educational Specialist Degree and PhD in Educational Leadership & Research: P-12 Educational Leadership. The mission of the Educational Leadership programs are to further develop the capacity of educational leaders for the diverse needs of P-12 educational environments. The programs in P-12 Educational Leadership engages graduate students in a relevant, demanding curriculum that focuses on leadership and involves a high level of academic rigor with a relentless commitment to social justice education.

About SOE
The LSU School of Education (SOE) offers graduate and undergraduate programs in Curriculum and Instruction, Educational Leadership and Research, and Counseling, including two completely online master’s programs. SOE offers a range of professional and academic degree programs that focus on preparing students for careers in education, research, policy formation and implementation, as well as program oversight. The School’s mission is to prepare P-12 educational professionals to be leaders, practitioners, and scholars knowledgeable in contemporary educational issues. SOE is part of the College of Human Sciences & Education.  

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About CHSE
The College of Human Sciences & Education (CHSE) is a nationally accredited division of Louisiana State University. The college is comprised of the School of Education, the School of Kinesiology, the School of Leadership & Human Resource Development, the School of Library & Information Science, the School of Social Work, and the University Laboratory School. These combined schools offer 8 undergraduate degree programs, 18 graduate programs, and 7 online graduate degree and/or certificate programs, enrolling more than 1,900 undergraduate and 1,120 graduate students. The College is committed to achieving the highest standards in teaching, research, and service and is committed to improving quality of life across the lifespan.

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