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Educational Leadership Honors Alumni for Dissertation, Leadership Skills

September 18, 2017

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MACOMB, IL – The Western Illinois University Educational Leadership (EDL) program recently gave two awards to program graduates who are administrators at school districts in Illinois.

Robert F. Hall Dissertation Award—Excellence in Dissertation Research
2017 Recipient: Superintendent Patricia Sullivan-Viniard of LaGrange Highlands Elementary District No. 106 (LaGrange, IL) – Dissertation title: "Promoting or Hindering Equity: A Multiple Case Study that Examines How Large and Diverse School Districts Identify and Serve High Ability Students in Kindergarten Through Eighth Grade." Dissertation Chair Professor Sandra G. Watkins and committee members Professor Jim LaPrad, Associate Professor Bridget Sheng, Associate Dean Greg Montalvo and Associate Professor Rene J. Noppe.

Sullivan-Viniard received her bachelor's degree from Quincy University and her master's and doctoral degrees from Western. She received her Ed.D. degree in Educational Leadership from Western in 2016.

After beginning her career as an elementary school teacher in Keokuk, IA, Sullivan-Viniard has served as a special education instructor, a junior high and secondary English teacher, a literacy interventionist, a principal, assistant superintendent and, most recently, superintendent of LaGrange Highlands Elementary District 106.

Sullivan-Viniard said her experience with the WIU doctoral program was "wonderfully rewarding."

"Being a recipient of the Robert F. Hall Dissertation Award is a tremendous honor," she said. "My supportive dissertation committee and all of the great professors I had share in this award."

The Hall award was established in 2008 in honor of Robert F. Hall upon his retirement from Western. Hall taught in the educational leadership department from 1986-2008, and also served as department chair from 2004-08. This award is given annually to a student who has completed the Ed.D. in educational leadership and is in recognition of excellence in dissertation research.

Arnold "Arnie" W. Salisbury Educational Leadership Award—Exemplary Leadership Skills
2017 Recipient: Superintendent Mark Scott of the North Greene County School District (White Hall, IL)

Scott received his bachelor's and doctoral degrees from WIU and his master's degree from McKendree University in Lebanon, IL. He received his Educational Specialist degree from Western in 2016, with a superintendent certification.

After beginning his career as a third grade teacher at White Hall Elementary School, Scott went on to teach eighth grade at Carrollton Elementary School and at Roodhouse Elementary School. He also taught at Bluffs High School and at West Prairie Elementary School in Good Hope, IL. He has also served as a principal at North Green School District and, most recently, as superintendent and supervising principal of North Greene Unit District No. 3.

Scott said he was "pleased, honored and humbled" to accept the award.

"I want to extend a very special 'thank you' to the WIU professors, especially to those who nominated me and supported my nomination," said Scott. "I would also like to thank my entire family and my friends for always supporting me and being there for me throughout my studies and my time away from them. Dr. Sandra Watkins, Dr. Yager, Dr. LaPrad and Dr. Kilmer all had a hand in preparing me for the superintendency, and the responsibilities that come with the position."

The Salisbury award was established in honor of Arnold W. Salisbury upon his retirement from Western in 1980. From 1968-80, Salisbury taught in the educational administration, supervision and curriculum department, and he also served as chair from 1969-80. This award is given annually to a student who has earned the Ed.S. in educational leadership and has displayed exemplary leadership skills in his or her professional career.

For more information about the educational leadership department, visit at

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