Newman University officials announced last week that Jessica Bird has been named director of the university's Western Kansas Center in Dodge City, Kan., effective July 1.
"We are very pleased to welcome Jessica to Newman," said Newman President Noreen M. Carrocci, Ph.D. "Her experience as an educator and school administrator serving students with diverse learning abilities and backgrounds is most impressive, and will be great assets to the staff and faculty of the Western Kansas Center. Her experience and leadership is also sure to help the many students across western Kansas who benefit from the educational programs offered in the region by Newman University."
"I look forward to this new and exciting endeavor with Newman University," Bird said. "It is rewarding to have the opportunity to help meet the educational needs of people throughout the area. I will strive to build relationships across western Kansas, and devote all my energy to making Newman the premier source of higher education in the region."
Bird has strong background in education
Bird comes to Newman University with extensive experience working with preschool students, middle-school students, disadvantaged youth and college students.
From September 2011 to the present, she has served as Executive Director of Community Daycare Center, Inc., in Garden City, Kan. In addition to her administrative and staff supervisory duties, Bird wrote and secured grants totaling more than $150,000, expanded the day-care program to a second facility, and developed better relations and partnerships with the community and local government. Beginning in 2013, Bird was also an adjunct instructor of education and reading courses at Garden City Community College.
Prior to her position at Community Daycare Center, Bird served from 1999 to 2011 at Kenneth Henderson Middle School in Garden City. Bird began her tenure as a reading teacher, ESL teacher and coach, and served in progressively responsible positions up to principal. Much of her work there included serving disadvantaged and at-risk students. Under her direction the school also received several awards for its reading program.
While pursuing her education from 1997 to 1999, Bird worked part-time as a paraprofessional, grant writer and director of the After-School Program at Washington Elementary School in Hays, Kan.
Bird has been praised by those who have worked with her for her professionalism, diligence, enthusiasm and positive attitude. She is described as having a passion for education and the ability to bring out the best in her staff.
Bird earned a bachelor's degree in Elementary Education and a master's degree in Educational Administration from Fort Hays State University. She also earned a Reading Specialist degree from Emporia State University and has taken a number of Continuing Professional Development courses.
Newman Western Kansas Center offers four-year degree program opportunities for residents across the region
"Newman University has a strong presence in Western Kansas, and we are excited about strengthening it even more with Jessica's leadership and experience," Carrocci said.
Bird will oversee and direct all activity at the Newman Western Kansas Center, which offers many programs for people throughout western Kansas who want to earn a degree without having to move or travel to another part of the state to attend a four-year university.
Newman began offering courses for Western Kansas residents in 1992, when the university filled the void for higher education created by the closing of Saint Mary of the Plains College. Today, Newman offers both undergraduate and graduate programs throughout Western Kansas. Programs are delivered through face-to-face instruction by local instructors, online courses, and Interactive Television (ITV), which allows students to participate in class sessions that are broadcast in real time to several remote communities in Western and Central Kansas. ITV sites are available in Liberal, Ulysses, Great Bend, Garden City, Goodland, Hutchinson, Syracuse, Sharon, Pratt and other communities.
Degree programs offered through the Western Kansas Center range from education to business to criminal justice. For a complete list of programs visit www.newmanu.edu/western-kansas.
One of Newman's most popular programs is the Teacher Education Program (TEP), which allows students to earn a teaching degree in as few as 16 months. Through partnerships Newman has developed with several area community colleges, graduates with an associate degree can enter Newman's TEP to pursue a bachelor's degree in elementary or secondary education. Students in the TEP and those pursuing other degrees who have earned a community college associate degree are also eligible for Newman scholarships.
The Newman University Western Kansas Center is located at 236 San Jose in Dodge City. For more information visit the center or go to www.newmanu.edu/western-kansas.