Preparing Educators as Leaders

Hannah Ferguson

PDS Intern
Primary office:


I have chosen a career in education because I believe teachers have the opportunity to not only change the world through future generations but, to improve it. I want to be part of this noble profession because I have hopes of one day being among those teachers whom students find inspiring. My ambition is to teach at underprivileged schools because I feel this is where I could make the most impact and provide inspiration where it is most needed. I feel the PDS Program is a right step in that direction. Being the developer I am, I see each student as an individual full of possibilities. All young individuals have the potential to achieve, grow and have high self-esteem. However, many of the students in the areas I want to work may be less fortunate in receiving the right tools and opportunities to do so. Because of this, great educators play a big role in providing the necessary support for children from diverse backgrounds. I want to provide students a safe learning environment where they can strive and grow as young learners, as young individuals. The co-teaching model within PDS is an excellent way to provide more support and resources to students but it is also a way for me to learn and grow as a future educator. I feel this collaboration model will enhance my collaboration and classroom management skills, providing a learning opportunity for myself as well.

Another reason why I want to become a teacher is to educate young minds about social justice, acceptance, and empathy to improve the world we live in. This co-teaching model is a parallel to the cooperative learning model I hope to use in my classroom. In cooperative learning, students are asked to work together, think together and plan together. The classroom is where there is so much potential to make changes in the way students see the world and interact with each other. I believe students from underprivileged schools need educators who care about social equality and justice. To the best of my ability, I want to provide these students with the highest level of education. I realize that teaching in these areas will be a struggle with the lack of resources and support. This is where I think the PDS Program provides me an opportunity to grow as an educator by being challenging me while also showing me support through the collaboration model environment. The PDS Program would be very beneficial to me in my preparation as a future educator but also as a collaborator in a professional learning community.


10th among public universities for its master’s and doctoral programs
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#1 public program in nation for special education
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Assists public schools and other partners in all 105 Kansas counties
$938,377 in scholarship funds awarded to 420+ students
Research expenditures of $36,804,773 for 2011-12
Research from KU’s largest grant, the $24.5 million SWIFT project, assists educators, children, and families across the United States
The award-winning special education faculty published 140 refereed articles, 11 books, and 60 chapters in 2015-16
Students with intellectual disabilities are participating in KU undergraduate programs through a grant-funded KU special education program
Researchers on a $3.5 million grant are collecting data on an innovative reading program designed to teach reading to students with the most significant disabilities in seven Kansas school districts
One of 34 U.S. public institutions in the prestigious Association of American Universities
44 nationally ranked graduate programs.
—U.S. News & World Report
Top 50 nationwide for size of library collection.
—ALA
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