Anna Foster

MA in Educational Studies: Educational Leadership and Policy (LEADPOL)

Student status: Alum, graduated 2016

Geographic region of origin: I'm from Washington, DC and moved to Michigan for my undergraduate studies. I stayed in Ann Arbor for a number of years after graduating before moving to Chicago to teach and earn an alternative teaching certification.

Education prior to Ed Studies MA: University of Michigan, Bachelor of Fine Arts

Prior to joining the program: After graduating from the University of Michigan I worked first in specialty coffee then as a baker before opening up a small coffee shop here in town. That life goal accomplished (and a lot of soul searching later), I moved to Chicago to pursue an alternative teaching certification through the Chicago Teaching Fellows. I worked in Chicago as Special Education teacher in a neighborhood school before deciding to return to Michigan for my graduate studies.

Why the Educational Leadership & Policy program?

Michigan presented a unique blend of leadership training, an opportunity to dive into more esoteric and theory-based understandings of policy, and a commitment to diversity and equity. More than anything, the possibility for interdisciplinary studies in other schools and colleges at the University of Michigan, which are themselves some of the top programs in the country appealed to my interest in understanding public schools as a system at the intersection of so many disciplines.

There were two other things that were important in my decision making process but which were rarely addressed in school info packets or by ambassadors of programs. First, I was looking for a rigorous program where my cohort was interested more in challenging studies than a rise in pay-grade. Second, personal reasons played quite a big part in where I was looking at schools. Having community support networks was an important part of my selection criteria. There are a number of really excellent programs out there where I am sure I would have enjoyed my studies but there are other things in life beyond a grad program and I am glad I considered them.

Highlights of the Michigan Experience

The LeadPol cohort is small enough that you know everyone but large enough that there is a real variety of experiences, backgrounds, and interests. Faculty is interested in what you want and how to make the experience ideal for you and seem to spend quite a bit of their time making that happen. Beyond the School of Education, being able to take "cognate" courses in other U-M schools has been really fantastic and brings valuable new perspectives to my understanding and engagement with core course work.

Foster invites prospective students to contact her with any questions about the program, student life, Ann Arbor, or coffee.  

Foster’s program of study:
Educational Leadership and Policy
Educational Policy, Leadership, and Innovation