Career Story: Director Of A Special Education Program At A Suburban High School

Director Of A Special Education Program At A Suburban High School

Job Title: Director Of A Special Education Program At A Suburban High School

Type of Company: A suburban high school.

Education: BA, Business Economics and Organization Behavior and Management, Brown University •• M.Ed., Special Education 5-12, Boston College

Previous Experience: I started out as a teaching assistant at a nearby high school while I was getting my master's degree. Once I graduated, I was hired as a Special Education teacher. I team-taught classes in history and also provided academic support to students with special needs. Next, I taught math in a therapeutic academic program for students struggling with emotional and behavioral challenges.

Job Tasks: I am the director of an academic support program at a Boston-area high school. My job is to organize the support of 300 students with various disabilities in the mainstream classroom.

There are 25 support staff in my program. Fifteen of them are teachers and ten are teaching assistants. Each teacher has a case load of about 25 kids and is responsible for meeting with each student during the day and communicating with parents and the student's teachers. The teaching assistants go to the students' classes and support them in their classes.

I spend a lot of my time during the day attending meetings. I have meetings for new students, and meetings for students who are having ongoing difficulty in school. I meet regularly with my staff. I meet with teachers as needed and with teaching assistants once a week. I also do a lot of paperwork. I write Individualized Education Plans for students, and coordinate all the case loads and schedules of the students. I coordinate the MCAS testing for all the students in my program. I make sure students receive accommodations when necessary during the testing and arrange for staff to monitor the students during the testing. I also spend time during the day with students who happen to be having a rough day. Often I need to track down students who are skipping classes, who are rumored to be using drugs or alcohol in school, or meet with students who have been thrown out of class.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of my job is that I feel like I am making a difference in the lives of my students. If my program did not exist for these students and they weren't receiving the types of supports that they receive in my program, they most likely would fall through the cracks and end up not doing as good a job in school as they are.

One of the worst parts of my job is that I do not get to spend as much time working directly with the students as I would like. I spend a lot of time in meetings, especially at the end of the school year when I am doing transition meetings for incoming ninth graders.

Job Tips:
1. Truly love what you end up doing. There is no money in teaching and the only reward you get from the job is the satisfaction that you are helping others.

2. Realize that because of so many budget cuts in education, case loads for special education are very high and there is not enough support for SPED teachers.

Additional Thoughts: The ability to communicate and work well with others is crucial for my job. I am working with so many teaching staff, families, and administrative staff.

Popular Schools offering Education Administration Programs

quickinfoThese schools offer particularly quick info upon request, and we have written detailed profiles for each (click school names to see the profiles).

Request info from multiple schools, by clicking the Request Info links.

Matching School Ads

You've found Ashford University, where school comes to you. Earn your bachelor's or master's degree online.

  • Programs: MA/Education - Family and Community Services, BA/Early Childhood Education Administration, BA/Early Childhood Education Administration - Infant and Toddler Care, more...
  • Degrees: Master, Bachelor

Study online with California University of Pennsylvania.

  • Programs: Administrative Program for Principals (Certification) - Online, Advanced Studies in Secondary Education & Teacher Leadership (Master of Education) - Online, Administrative Program for Principals (Master of Education) - Online, more...
  • Degrees: Certificate, Master

Concordia University - Portland offers several fully online 14-month Master of Education (M.Ed.) programs and a fully online Doctorate of Education (Ed.D.) program.

  • Programs: Educational Administration (EDD), M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction - Educational Technology Leadership, Ed.D. - Professional Leadership, Inquiry, and Transformation, more...
  • Degrees: Doctorate, Master

You’re serious about success. With your busy schedule and the desire to move your career forward, you can earn an accredited associate, bachelors or master’s degree at a pace that works for you anywhere, anytime, 24/7.

At AIU, the Serious U, you can get started to get ahead.

  • Programs: Master's (M.Ed.) - Secondary Education, Master's (M.Ed.) - Leadership of Educational Organizations, Master's (M.Ed.) - Elementary Education
  • Degrees: Master

Learning at Full Sail University has always centered around interaction and the exchange of ideas. Our online curriculum fully embraces this philosophy.

  • Programs: Instructional Design & Technology
  • Degrees: Master

Abilene Christian University (ACU), founded in 1906 and affiliated with the Church of Christ, has a long and proud heritage dedicated to educating students for Christian service and leadership throughout the world. Instructors teach students how to think critically and globally in each of their respective programs, while still maintaining a focus on their particular program of study. ACU is an academically notable institution top ranked by U.S. News & World Report's "America's Best Colleges", as well as The Princeton Review and Forbes.

  • Programs: Master of Education in Higher Education
  • Degrees: Master

Pursue your education at Pacific Oaks College.

  • Programs: B.A. Early Childhood Education , B.A. Early Childhood Education with Dual Credential, M.A. Early Childhood Education, more...
  • Degrees: Bachelor, Master

Founded by the Society of Jesus in 1851, Saint Joseph's University (SJU) has been developing the minds and abilities of men and women in a challenging academic environment steeped in the enriching Jesuit tradition of cura personalis (care of the entire person).

  • Programs: MS Instructional Technology Specialist
  • Degrees: Master

Colorado State University-Global Campus

Colorado State University-Global Campus (CSU-Global) recently received state approval to enroll students with little to no prior college experience. To help ensure student success, the university has created a program especially for these students who plan on starting their college experience for the first time with us.

  • Programs: MS - Teaching and Learning
  • Degrees: Master
Matching School Ads

Additional Career Stories for Education Administrators

The inside stories from people actually working in the field.
Click a story title to show the story, and click the title again to hide it.

All Types

You are visiting:

Find a school near you

What are Career Stories?

Career Stories are concise, real-world career overviews written by people relating their personal career experiences and wisdom. They provide invaluable insights and mentoring advice to students and career changers.

Most stories include:

  • a typical day or project
  • tips and advice
  • best and worst parts
  • educational background
  • previous experience

Browse hundreds of Career Stories

More Details On This Career

Please also see our detailed information about Education Administrators, including:

Back to Top