UNI partnering with Des Moines Public Schools to meet need for administrators

UNI partnering with Des Moines Public Schools to meet need for administrators

Left to right: Matthew Smith, Rob Denson, Colleen Mulholland, Peter LeBlanc, Mark Nook
Matthew Smith, Rob Denson, Colleen Mulholland, Peter LeBlanc, Mark Nook

CEDAR FALLS/DES MOINES, Iowa - The University of Northern Iowa is expanding its master’s degree and advanced studies certificate in principalship to include a cohort specifically for Des Moines Public Schools, the largest public school district in the State of Iowa. The innovative partnership, called the Purple Pathway for School Administrators, will help meet a large need for administrative positions in the district as well as include course content specially designed with the Des Moines Public Schools’ mission, vision and student needs in mind.

“Thank you to Matthew Smith, Peter LeBlanc and their team at Des Moines Public Schools for making this partnership a reality,” said UNI President Mark Nook. “UNI also appreciates the continued collaboration with President Rob Denson and Des Moines Area Community College to bring the Purple Pathways for School Administrators program to the DMACC Urban Campus. I would also extend a sincere thank you to Colleen Mulholland, dean of UNI’s College of Education, for expediting the Purple Pathways program that will benefit the students and staff of Des Moines Public Schools.”  

The Purple Pathway for School Administrators is a two-year UNI College of Education program delivered primarily online and designed for educators seeking endorsement in the state of Iowa as a PK-12 Principal/PK-12 Supervisor of Special Education. The program will also include 25 days of in person face-to-face instruction at UNI's classroom site at the Des Moines Area Community College (DMACC) Urban Campus. 

“Des Moines Public Schools is committed to supporting opportunities for our staff to learn and grow, and this new partnership with the University of Northern Iowa is a great example of that commitment,” said Des Moines interim superintendent Matthew Smith. “The Purple Pathway provides our staff a chance to advance in their careers, allowing DMPS to retain and promote our talented employees.”

“This performance-based program is unique in that it minimizes student class time and maximizes on-site skill development while working with Des Moines administrators and UNI faculty,” said Mulholland. “We are looking forward to building this emerging partnership with Des Moines Public Schools and continuing to meet the education needs of Iowa.”

“This is a great opportunity for UNI to focus this cohort's experience specifically around the needs of Des Moines and Des Moines administration,” said Kenneth Hayes, EdD, program coordinator. “Through this partnership, Des Moines educators will become highly qualified administrators to immediately step into the role of a PK-12 administrator within their own district. The added face-to-face instruction at DMACC Urban Campus is just another unique way UNI provides a personal approach to learning about school leadership.”

Upon successful completion, educators will be qualified to apply for administrative positions available in the Des Moines school district including:

  • PK-12 principal
  • Assistant principal
  • Dean of students
  • Special education supervisor
  • PK-12 special education director
  • Curriculum director
  • At-risk director
  • Director of education (Elementary and/or Secondary)
  • Transportation director 
  • Equity director