By Reilly Wright, Photo Editor
The newest assistant professor of education at Ohio Wesleyan, Sarah J. Kaka, comes armed to teach those to teach.
Currently, Kaka teaches the introductory course to education, the role of the school, but her concentration is in secondary education with seventh through 12th grade. OWU students are enrolled in her secondary social studies courses and adolescent to young adult and multi-age education program field experiences.
“I get to go out and observe student-teachers in the field and see what’s happening,” Kaka said. “And I’m able to keep current and relevant on trends in schools today because I’m out in the field.”
Kaka spent her undergraduate at Illinois State University before attending the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs, to get her master’s in curriculum and instruction and her Ph.D. in educational leadership, research and policy.
With published work in peer-reviewed journals and presentations at local and international conferences, Kaka’s research concentrates on improving educator preparation programs.
“Kaka was highly experienced,” said Amy McClure, the department chair of education. “She has worked with accreditation and the edTPA, a rigorous national assessment all our students must complete, supervised students in field experiences and student teaching.”
Before teaching higher education, Kaka taught high school social studies in Virginia and Colorado for 10 years before realizing she wanted a larger hand in the classroom. In graduate school, she found she was on a path toward more administrative positions, such as a dean or principal, instead of teacher.
“When I was doing all the director stuff, I was only teaching one class a semester,” Kaka said. “The rest of it was all administrative. I missed teaching.”
After years of attending and teaching in a larger graduate audience, Kaka says the change to a small midwestern campus is a welcome for her, her husband and two children to set roots.
“When I saw this job … I jumped at it because it’s a small institution and it’s heavy on the teaching,” Kaka said. “I’d teach three classes each semester and still be able to do the research and the scholarship that I love doing.”
Kaka said she loves getting to know her students individually and understanding their diverse backgrounds as they learn and gain experience.
“I feel incredibly blessed to be here and lucky and just happy,” Kaka said. “My colleagues have all been so supportive.”