Return to Headlines

JCISD Director of Learning Services & Instruction earns doctoral degree through MSU's College of Education

September 23, 2022

“Congratulations Dr. Tovah Sheldon on successfully defending your dissertation and earning your doctoral degree! Dr. Sheldon's accomplishment exemplifies that the JCISD continues to employ people that strive for greater heights, constantly improving their skills and adding to the organization's expertise.” ~Kevin Oxley, Superintendent, Jackson County Intermediate School District

Join us in congratulating our Director of Learning Services and Instruction Dr. Tovah Sheldon, Ph.D.! She recently earned her doctorate through Michigan State University’s College of Education after successfully defending her dissertation titled “Principals Leading and Learning During Unprecedented and Complex Times”. 

This is no easy feat; the doctorate degree is the most advanced degree you can earn, symbolizing that you have mastered a specific area of study. In addition to extensive coursework, it also requires a lot of research and articulation. Those who are successful must have researched the topic thoroughly, conducted new research, and provided a new interpretation or solution into the field. 

Dr. Sheldon chose the topic of principal leadership because of the roles principals have in our nation’s schools. “Principals have a significant impact on student and school achievement, but are often overlooked, overworked, and under supported in our system,” said Dr. Sheldon. “I felt it was meaningful to investigate their perspectives on their role, how it has changed over time, and what we can do better to support them.” 

On average, a Ph.D. may take up to eight years to complete and it is recommended that those pursuing the degree do not work other jobs due to the intensity of the program. For Dr. Sheldon, it took a little over nine years because she continued to work full time and raise her family, all during a pandemic nonetheless. Dr. Sheldon is also a wife and a mother of two, and gave up time on weekends and evenings with her family to complete the required courses, research, and writing to achieve this lifelong personal goal. 

When speaking about the process as a whole, Dr. Sheldon says it wouldn’t have been possible without the support of her family and the inspiration from colleagues and mentors over the years. “The level of grit, perseverance, and determination that one goes through with this journey is intense; you have to go through it to understand it,” said Dr. Sheldon. “I am grateful to be on the other side of this and able to return to my greatest priority - my family.”

Dr. Sheldon MSU

JCISD Board of Education members congratulates Dr. Sheldon