Saint Mary’s welcomes Marcia Nelson, Ed.D. as the next director of its Educational Specialist (Ed.S.) program. Marcia Nelson is an educational leader with over thirty years of experience as a teacher and administrator in K-12 schools.

Marcia believes that all positions in education stem from being a good teacher. As an administrator, Marcia focused on connecting people to each other and motivating teachers, staff, and students to work together to inspire one another. “Life is about relationships,” said Marcia, and this message has been interwoven throughout her work. Leaders inspire others to do their best and instill hope for the future through modeled integrity and practical application.

“We are confident that Marcia Nelson is the right person to lead our already strong Ed.S. program into the future,” said Michael Hahn, Ph.D., assistant dean of the school of education. “Marcia has a great deal of experience as a school administrator. Even more, Marcia has the right disposition to guide a program that seeks to prepare wise educational leaders of character and competence.”

As a teacher, Marcia developed a leadership program aimed at youth at-risk of not graduating from high school to connect their life experiences to their learning environments by developing leadership skills that would transcend the walls of high school and positively affect the remainder of their lives. Creating the curriculum for this program, Marcia planned a ten day leadership challenge trip to various National Parks on oceanside islands and led the fundraising efforts to ensure that all students were able to participate. It was life-changing for many students and for Marcia as well.

Serving as assistant principal for several years in Duluth, and more recently, as principal at Rock Ridge High School in Virginia, Marcia experienced the challenges of the pandemic for teachers and students. “Now is a critical time for educational leaders to rebuild connections between students and their adults, and to instill leadership qualities, hope, resilience, and motivation back into the hearts of teachers and students across the country,” said Marcia. “The mission of Saint Mary’s and the focus on character and virtue education couldn’t come at a more opportune and necessary time.”

Marcia earned her undergraduate degree from Minnesota State University Mankato in English, Theater, and Speech, her master’s degree and principal licensure from St. Cloud State University, and her doctorate in leadership, policy, and administration with a concentration in critical pedagogy and the superintendency from the University of St. Thomas. Saint Mary’s Ed.S. program is the largest in the State of Minnesota and prepares future educational leaders to become principals, superintendents and directors of special education.

For more information about the program, please visit the Ed.S. program page.