Genelle Morris

EdD ’14, Educational Administration

Genelle Morris.

1)    What is your current position and place of employment?

I am chief accountability officer and chief information officer for the Buffalo Public Schools, the second largest public school district in New York State.

2)    What path led you to attaining your current position?

Early on, my personal philosophy drew me to a career in education. I have always wanted to give back to my community and serve through education, in part because of my background. Specifically, I’ve always had an interest in educational research. My current position allows me to explore the questions of why and how change is applied in urban education. I work with a dynamic team that is unwaveringly focused on improving outcomes for the students in Buffalo and it is very exciting work.

3)    How did your education in GSE prepare you for this position?

Even though I had the dedication, drive and desire to work in educational research, my education in GSE gave me the tools to be successful. Through my experience in GSE, I was fortunate to study with a great group of educators. My instructors helped to hone my empirical and theoretical thinking and my colleagues served as resources and friends through the process. I use what we learned in classes all the time. For example, I use the policy option brief format that I learned with Dr. Stephen Jacobson all the time in my work.

4)    What did you learn in your degree program that was the most beneficial?

I learned about the importance of relationships. In all of my degree programs, it was a common theme and I have used that to guide my work. Even though my department focuses on research and assessment, we utilize a participatory evaluation philosophy, where we ensure that we are engaging our teachers and staff as active partners throughout our research and evaluation process. Establishing these relationships with the school and district staff ensures that our research and assessment studies are focused on meeting the needs of our constituents while providing useable, valuable recommendations that can be used by the staff to improve outcomes.

5)    What was your favorite part or your most memorable experience during your degree program?

I’d like to say that the most incredible part of all of my programs at UB was the people. You meet incredible people in the program, educators who are constantly challenging, inspiring and surprising you. Another notable experience was simply taking advantage of the amazing amount of resources that are available at UB, specifically in education, research and networking within the profession.

6)    How have you impacted your local community through your work? In my role, we are very interactive with our community.

I have worked with Say Yes, Promise Neighborhood, and Leadership Buffalo, as well as served on the alumni board for the GSE Alumni Association. I try to volunteer whenever needed to speak to classes in GSE.

7)    What accomplishments (e.g., awards, publications) have you achieved that demonstrate the work you do?

At my doctoral graduation, I earned the Delbert Mullens “Thinking Outside the Box” Award. For me, this is truly significant because it reflects the aspect of my educational approach and my professional life.

8)    What advice would you give to current students looking to enter your field?

It is not a traditional path that most consider when thinking about this field of education but it is one that is very rewarding. My current position allows me to provide scientifically targeted research, evaluation and data support services as they relate to conditions that influence student learning, and it is exciting to see the hard work pay off.