Hometown: New Paltz, N.Y.
Major: Instructional Leadership
WCSU Degree: Ed.D.
Activities: : Work full time as director of instructional technology at the Hendrick Hudson School District in Montrose, N.Y.
Honors and Awards: Fulbright Specialist award for the implementation of an educational project abroad
Matthew Swerdloff has been a teacher for nine years and an administrator for 11, having worked in Dutchess, Orange, Sullivan and Westchester counties in New York. He began his career in the Arlington, N.Y., schools in 1993 as a fifth-grade teacher. He later moved to Rhinebeck, N.Y., to teach middle school before becoming a director of instructional technology in Montrose, N.Y. Ask the 50-year-old Swerdloff why he decided to pursue a doctorate in instructional leadership at Western and he'll tell you, "I think education is the most important work I can do."
Swerdloff commuted an hour each way to his doctoral classes at Western for four years on the basis of a recommendation by a colleague and extensive research into area programs. "She was right — the program has lived up to her recommendation," he says. "The structure of the program made it feasible for me as a working parent. One night a week was reasonable, and the occasional summer session was not a problem. The cost was a big factor. I considered SUNY Albany, Columbia, Fordham and several online programs, and frankly, WCSU was the best fit for me."
The recipient of a Fulbright Specialist award, Swerdloff developed a project to enable him to collaborate with a foreign university to train potential teachers in the effective use of instructional technology. "I am hoping to visit Nepal or Bhutan for the month of December 2013, but have not finalized the exact placement," he says. "The doctorate earned at Western was a significant factor in being able to receive the grant, both in terms of my knowledge and my eligibility for the grant."
Asked what he will remember most about his Western experience, Swerdloff says, "Watching my first dissertation defense during my first year of classes. It was inspiring." He credits his dissertation adviser, Dr. Karen Burke, for the guidance she provided when it was his turn. "She was instrumental to me in getting through the dissertation process."
After graduation, Swerdloff plans to seek a superintendent of schools position in a school district in New York.
Swerdlof’s advice to new students entering WCSU is: "Learn your way around the Westside Classroom Building. After four years I still get lost!"