Dr. Leo Corriveau knows education. He began his 33 year career as a social studies teacher at the middle and high school levels. At age 29 he got his “big break into school administration” when he became the assistant principal at Monadnock Regional High School with an enrollment of 1,100 students. He was also a principal and superintendent in Woodstock, Vt., where he worked with 52 school board members and eight different school boards. Most recently, he was the superintendent of New Hampshire SAU 34 — Hillsboro, Deering, Washington and Winsor. Today, Corriveau is the director of the Office of Teacher Accreditation, Assessment and Clinical Experiences at Plymouth State University, and the chief certification officer.
“The position here at Plymouth has been restructured to be responsible for the oversight of clinical experiences of teacher certification candidates, as well as the program’s accreditation by NCATE and the New Hampshire Department of Education,” explains Corriveau of his new job. NCATE is the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education. NCATE sets standards of excellence for teacher preparation nationwide. “Plymouth State is the only one of two NCATE accredited institutions in New Hampshire, and we have completed a self-study and are preparing for a site visit next week for continuing accreditation,” states Corriveau.
“The NCATE process is validation of the good work that is being done here,” he continues. “It allows us to assess how well we meet NCATE standards and how well our students meet those standards.” There are 61 teacher education candidates student teaching during the spring semester. The expectation is for 75 in the fall and 100+ in spring 2005.
According to Corriveau, NCATE evolved using the quality philosophy of continuous improvement regarding how well teacher education students were prepared to teach, and to improve the teaching experience for teachers, their students and school systems overall. Going through the NCATE self-study and assessment enables Plymouth State to see how well its own conceptual framework for teacher education —collaboration, holism, experience, commitment and knowledge—aligns with NCATE standards.
Another aspect of Corriveau’s job is to chair PSU’s Council of Teacher Education, the governing body that sets policy and determines course and programmatic revisions for teacher education in all disciplines. He is also chief certification officer for graduate students in the master’s of education program seeking educator certification.
Having been on the job just over a month, Corriveau is still learning the differences between working for a school district and a university, but is excited by the opportunities and the quality of Plymouth State students, staff and programs.
“Nationally, almost 50% of the teaching force is baby boomers,” says Corriveau. “There is going to be a major shortage of teachers and administrators in the near future. My vision is for PSU teacher education candidates to be sought by school systems. Even now, PSU teacher education students had SAT scores and maintain GPAs that are higher than the average university student’s, which counters the national trend and perception of teacher education candidates. They will be highly regarded and preferred as teaching candidates.”
Other goals of Corriveau’s are to ensure diversity in the teacher education programs, increase the number of math, science, special education and foreign language candidates and develop additional relationships among rural and urban school districts. Currently, Gilford School District, Newfound Regional School District and Shaker Regional School District are all PSU Professional Development School partners. Through these partnerships, PSU professors, teacher education candidates, school teachers, administrators and students all benefit from professional development experiences that raise the overall level of teaching and learning in the schools. Corriveau says he would like to revitalize the Concord School District partnership, and expand partnerships with larger, urban school administrative units in New Hampshire.
In his “spare” time Corriveau plans to continue teaching courses for Plymouth’s Certificate of Advanced Graduate Studies program. Also, he is on the executive board of the New Hampshire Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (NHASCD), and a past president of NHASCD. He is an award winning and nationally recognized school administrator. Among his many honors are: being selected by NHASCD in 1999 for an Excellence in Education Award, having been nominated three times by the American Association of School Administrators (AASA) for National Superintendent of the Year (1995, 1996 and 1999), received a Leadership for Learning Award from AASA in 1995, selected for Who’s Who Among Outstanding Americans in 1994 and 1995, and recognized by the United States Department of Education for Outstanding Leadership in School Administration for the 1986-87 school year.
Corriveau, originally from Athol, Mass., lives in Hillsboro with his wife, Laura, and daughter, Kaley. Corriveau is a graduate of Fitchburg State College. He received masters’ degrees from Fitchburg State College and Providence College, and his doctorate in management from Columbia Pacific University.