Alumni Spotlight: Dr. Mandy Cenker | Educational Leadership K-12 | Kent State University

Alumni Spotlight: Dr. Mandy Cenker

Mandy CenkerDr. Mandy Cenker– Alumni Profile

PhD in Educational Administration, December 2016

Dissertation: Bridging the Gap: Transitioning Students with Disabilities to Higher Education


A native of Green, Ohio, Mandy Cenker earned her bachelor of science degree in integrated social studies (7-12) from Kent State University and her master of arts in education in special education (intervention specialist) from Malone University in Canton.   Mandy taught K-12 special education for nine years in two local districts prior to her current position.


Current Employer:
Kent State University, College of Education, Health and Human Services

Current Positions:
Outreach Program Manager for the Office of Professional Development and Outreach (PDO)

Instructor, Educational Leadership K-12


Speaking about the work of her office, Mandy explains, “we equip educators with professional development opportunities through different workshops and outreach events.  I assist in the coordination of off-campus degree and endorsement programs; bringing Kent State to the educators”.  In the past year, the office has served more than 1,400 educators in Northeast Ohio and beyond.  In her role, Mandy also represents EHHS at various statewide education conferences, building relationships and promoting all the college’s programs. 


One of the most rewarding aspects of Mandy’s position is the extensive contact with educators.  “When I worked in the K-12 system, my interactions were limited to my students, their parents, and immediate colleagues in my school and district.  Now, I am able to build relationships with colleagues in districts throughout Northeast Ohio and beyond”. 


Linking Academics to Professional Work

Mandy’s work straddles the worlds of higher education and the K-12 system.  She notes the varied ways in which her doctoral studies at Kent State prepared her for this.  “I was able to take courses in the superintendent program as well as higher education electives.  These helped provide an understanding of the administrative processes within the P-20 educational continuum”.  Other skills developed throughout the program -- leading, budgeting, and communicating with varied constituencies – are also critical in effectively executing her responsibilities.


Looking back on her doctoral program, Mandy points to several important and formative components.  “I was able to publish in two faculty-edited books.  As a graduate assistant, I was able to work in an academic program and in an administrative office in which I gained valuable experience”.  A couple of courses were particularly impactful, including Leading for Social Justice.  “The artmaking project pushed me to think beyond my comfort zone, understanding that we need to take into account the needs of all students in each decision we make as a leader”.  Advising current and prospective students, Mandy urges, “use the resources available to you have wisely.  Everybody is here to support and help you”.


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POSTED: Wednesday, August 30, 2017 - 6:30pm
UPDATED: Wednesday, November 8, 2017 - 8:09pm