Fresno State doctorate grad wins national award for her dissertation

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- A Fresno State Doctoral graduate is being recognized nationally for her dissertation.

It was Suzanne Rodriguez's years of working in education that got her back in the classroom.

"I wanted to investigate and research the support that's out there for principals," said Dissertation of the Year Winner Dr. Suzanne Rodriguez. "I personally felt there was a need for the support and development of principals."

While in the doctoral program at Fresno State, Suzanne was a full-time principal herself overseeing her students, managing assignments and working on her dissertation.

"I saw a hunger and desire to learn and I saw an individual that really had a heart for kids and a heart for the Valley," said Dr. Jennifer Moradian Watson with the Kremen School of Education.

Through her research, Suzanne found that principals have a high impact on student achievement, but they need to supported and developed, so she came up with a solution.

"I was able to develop a model that focuses on principal leadership," added Rodriguez. "Not just at the beginning, but throughout."

Working with a team from Fresno State, Suzanne completed her dissertation and was the first CSU student to win a dissertation in practice of the year from the Carnegie Project on the Education Doctorate.

Suzanne is currently a school supervisor and social work expert at Robson Forensic. Her next goal is to put her research to use, implementing and evaluating results at local schools.
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