Welcome New Faculty!

K. Hridaya Hall

K. Hridaya HallAfter completing a bachelor’s degree in psychology, Hridaya worked in college admissions for a year before taking her love of service to an AmeriCorps position with Lutheran Social Services of the Virgin Islands in St. Croix. The strained state of services in the Virgin Islands inspired her to become an advocate, and she spent her last three years there co-developing and administering an educational and training program for adults with disabilities.

Hridaya’s experience as para-professional counselor and educator inspired her to pursue a master’s in counseling at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro with a concentration in student development in higher education, and then a PhD in counselor education and supervision.

What is your position with the College of Graduate Studies?

I am an assistant professor in the counselor education and school psychology program. I am delighted to be teaching Counseling Practicum and Counseling Skills this fall. I will be learning about Plymouth State and the broader community in order to find out what collaboration opportunities exist and where I may be of service. I will also be submitting an article from my dissertation study for publication and presenting at the national Association for Counselor Education and Supervision conference this October.

What brought you to PSU?

I was impressed with my interactions with the search committee during my interview process with PSU. I was excited to find a department that includes colleagues who are clearly committed to their students, strong teachers, and leaders in their respective fields. As a native of the Adirondacks of New York, I was also delighted to return to the northeast and to join a campus with a clear commitment to raising environmental and social consciousness.

On a personal level, I am an avid backpacker, canoeist and yogi/meditator who looks forward to finding spiritual community with whom to practice and outdoor community with whom to explore the local mountains and waterways.

Christie Sweeney

Christie SweeneyPrior to joining the Plymouth State Educational Leadership faculty, Christie’s career in education provided her with a variety of experiences, including public elementary school teacher (second, third, fourth, and sixth grades) and administrator (assistant principal and principal), before moving to higher education where she taught graduate and undergraduate courses.

In addition, she administered an accelerated graduate-level teacher preparation program, chaired the curriculum committee at two different universities, served as an Institutional Review Board committee member, and directed a university-wide Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning.

Christie holds an EdD in educational leadership and organizational change from Roosevelt University. Her dissertation, a qualitative, ethnographic, case study of an outstanding public school superintendent entitled “Leadership Practices that Facilitate a Shared Vision of Educational Excellence,” focused on leadership in school-community collaborations.

Could you tell us about your research interests?

My professional area of interest is related to educational leadership. I am specifically interested in how educational leadership is practiced in the context of a professional learning community. The primary focus of my research is on determining the practices utilized by effective educational leaders. Two overarching questions guide my research: What are the characteristics, behaviors, traits, and/or abilities that effective educational leaders possess? What is it that effective leaders do to successfully increase the capacity of their organizations to continuously improve?

My concept of effective leadership is rooted in four general assumptions:

  • The primary goal of leadership is to increase the capacity of an organization to continuously improve.
  • Leadership signifies an influence relationship between leaders and followers. This relationship is continually redefined and recreated as it is enacted.
  • Leadership depends upon the context or environment in which it is being practiced.
  • As leaders learn and grow, they evolve; leadership is about change.

I believe that the kind of leadership necessary to produce successful organizational change, and to provide opportunities for all members of a learning community to realize their potential, requires more than a set of basic skills. It is the execution of those skills, applied in a particular setting and for a specific purpose, that make a leader effective.

What is your position with the College of Graduate Studies?

At Plymouth State I will serve in the dual role of assistant professor and co-coordinator for the educational leadership program. I will work with Dr. Kathleen Norris to coordinate the educational leadership program and am responsible for the MEd and CAGS program. I will also teach courses in each of those programs.


One response to “Welcome New Faculty!”

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