Grounded in Theory

Maureen Lofton , director of curriculum, instruction and professional development, Alvord Unified School District

The Ed.D. program exceeds Maureen Lofton's expectations.

Transcript of interview:

Longtime educator Maureen Lofton views her role as director of curriculum, instruction and professional development in the Alvord Unified School District with a sense of life-or-death urgency. That is because Lofton knows that youngsters who do not learn to read well are far more likely to become ensnared in drugs, gangs, and other behaviors that frequently lead to incarceration or premature death.

"Our schools are facing enormous challenges. I'm committed to ensuring that all children learn at the level they need to survive and be successful in today's world. We know that public education is truly life-altering."

Lofton is quick to say that quality education cannot be delivered without a clear, deliberate plan that is based on sound research.

"You have to have strategies that will enhance opportunities for children. That doesn't happen casually – by accident. It takes knowledge, planning and hard work."

Lofton's commitment to scholarship and research is part of what drew her to the doctoral program at Redlands, which is the only one in the country with an educational justice emphasis.

"It's easy to discuss things at a conversational level. But we are required to ground everything in theory and to achieve a high standard of scholarship. The academic rigor of this program has exceeded my expectations."

Lofton said she also has learned from her colleagues in the program, including teachers, counselors, and professionals currently in the private sector.

"Having students with so many different interests and backgrounds has been exciting for me. I have learned a lot from listening to them talk and getting their honest feedback. It's really enhanced what I do in my district. Their perspectives are a key benefit of the program."

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Redlands has 12 recent Fulbright Scholar recipients.

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