After teaching in Calgary for more than 20 years, Darren Moroz (MEd ’14) decided it was time to reverse roles and become a student again.
With his eye on becoming a school administrator, adding a master’s degree to his credentials was one of his first steps. He already knew the University of Lethbridge by its strong reputation, so he didn’t hesitate to sign up for the Master of Education (Educational Leadership) program as soon as he learned it would be offered in Calgary.
“The 12-course program, including the Capstone Thesis, was exactly what I was looking for and I could not have been happier with the program,” says Moroz.
Delivered through a combination of online and in-class courses, the master’s program fit with his responsibilities as an elementary school teacher in the Calgary Catholic School District and as a husband and father.
“I had a phenomenal experience,” he says. “From the beginning, we were exposed to educational leadership models and practices and thrust into developing our leadership skills.”
Because he was a little nervous about being a student again, he took a sabbatical from teaching and honed his studying skills by completing a religious education program at St. Mary’s University College, a private Catholic liberal arts institution in Calgary.
“That was a stepping stone to the confidence I needed to pursue further education,” he says.
He was one of 17 others who enrolled in the program and they became a tight-knit group over the two years. In fact, they reserved an entire restaurant for themselves and their friends and family to get together and celebrate their graduation.
Moroz had a particular interest in elementary school leadership and focused his Capstone Thesis on how leadership percolates from school administrators to teachers and from teachers to students. Through his thesis project, teachers facilitated more than 20 student leadership groups that did everything from running hot lunch, intramurals and an in-school bank to recycling and litterless lunch programs.
Positive leadership models weren’t hard to find when Moroz was a child growing up in Porcupine Plain, Sask. He was surrounded by educators, including his mother, an aunt and an uncle, who demonstrated community involvement.
“I always had aspirations of being a teacher. I had great experiences growing up. I had my first male teacher in Grade 4 and he later became my Air Cadet instructor. He taught me a lot about discipline and leadership,” says Moroz.
After graduating from high school, Moroz studied education at the University of Saskatchewan and had a teaching contract in his pocket three months before he graduated.
He moved to Calgary and joined the Calgary Catholic School District. He says he learned the most about what it means to be a teacher in that first year, thanks to all the great mentoring he received. He has since taught at two other schools in the district.
“This is my 25th year of teaching and I could not be happier. I’ve had a fantastic career and I work in an amazing school,” he says.
Moroz, with his master’s degree in hand, says he will apply to become an assistant principal next year. He welcomes the opportunity to be involved in a leadership role within his school district where he can mentor others, just as others mentored him.