Alumna takes helm of Teacher Education, focuses on partnerships and technology
Dr. Wirth says, "Research indicates that students learn better when actively involved in the learning process. Technology is no longer an additive. It has become a necessity. Our teachers need to be prepared to incorporate technology into their lesson plans. They need to know how to actively engage their students in the classroom, and they need to know how to develop their students to be motivated, lifelong learners."
Wirth is emphatic that technology for technology's sake is not the point. Rather, it is imperative that students from SAGU's EPP graduate with a knowledge of how ever-changing technologies can be embraced and integrated for classroom and instructional use.
"It’s my desire to see our students graduate with the flexibility needed to embrace all types of learning styles and instructional strategies," says Wirth.
In a competitive teaching field, it is also important for students to build connections and benefit from in-class experience. Wirth explains, "I plan to expand our partnership with public, private and charter schools. It’s important that our students know the mission and vision of each type of school system. This knowledge base will help them understand the decisions parents have to make when choosing the right school setting for their children. It will also help them determine which type of school system reflects their own educational philosophy. This understanding will help them make sound, solid career choices."
Wirth wasted no time reaching out to local school districts. In early fall, SAGU hosted the Independent School District (ISD) Expo, providing a forum for Superintendents to share their goals and philosophies with SAGU students. SAGU also hosted an Ellis County Teacher Advisory Committee (ECTAC), a council of community educators, business professionals and students to review and improve SAGU's Educator Prep Program.
When asked what drives her efforts as an educator and administrator, Wirth explains, "I learned early in my journey as an educator that being a teacher was a God-given calling. Teachers have incredible demands placed on them each and every day. They have pressure to meet standards that they often have very little control over. Being a teacher requires far more than walking into a room, passing out papers and grading. Teachers are motivators, instructors, helpers, and servants. Teachers tie shoes, wipe runny noses, calm fears, and stand in the gap between their students and imminent danger. In some cases, teachers are mom and dad to students without. At SAGU, we help our students understand the many facets of this job. We also help them understand that there is no way to be an effective teacher without the power of the Holy Spirit working through them."
Wirth graduated from SAGU with a bachelor's in Elementary Education in 2001 and earned a Master of Education in Administration and Supervision from Johns Hopkins University in 2002. She earned her Doctor of Education in Curriculum and Instructional Leadership from Northcentral University, with a dissertation emphasis in "Beliefs and Practices of Middle School Teachers Concerning Data Driven Instruction." She taught for 11 years in Maryland public schools and was an Associate Professor for SAGU's School of Distance Education before being recruited to captain SAGU Teacher Education.
Southwestern Assemblies of God University is a private, Christian university located 30 minutes south of the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex in Waxahachie, Texas. The university was established in 1927, and now offers more than 70 associate, bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees on campus or online. More information is available at www.sagu.edu or by calling 1-888-YES-SAGU.