Dr. Brad Skertich Paves the Way for Leadership Career in Master’s Degree Program

After spending three years as a teacher, Dr. Brad Skertich landed his first administrative role 20 years ago. He’s never looked back.

“I wanted to coach and have a positive impact on kids like my coaches and teachers had on me when I was a kid,” he said. “I have a lot of fond memories of them as people and as educators. The impact that they had on me helped shape who I am.

“My mom, Jan, was a special education teacher, while my dad, Mark, was a principal. They are both retired. That also shaped a path for me to travel.”

Dr. Skertich prepared to move into educational administration when he graduated from the Master of Science in Education in Educational Administration with a Specialization in Principal Preparation program at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (SIUE) in 2001. “I was teaching middle school math when I went back for a master’s degree. The program prepared me well for leadership. The required internship hours were especially beneficial to me.”

Dr. Skertich returned to SIUE to earn a Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership and Administration, which he completed two years ago and is currently the superintendent at Collinsville CUSD #10 in Collinsville, Illinois.

“When it’s a close-knit environment, there are opportunities to succeed,” he said. “The professors at SIUE made you feel like you mattered, which was evident in both their master’s and doctoral programs.

Native Son

Dr. Skertich is from Staunton, Illinois, about 25 minutes from where he lives now. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and teaching from Illinois State University in 1998.

He taught eighth-grade math for three years at Triad CUSD #9 before becoming elementary and junior high school principal at Bunker Hill CUSD #8 the same year he graduated with his master’s degree.

“I’ve always had a connection to SIUE. I attended summer camps and prep courses when I was in elementary and high school,” he said. “The SIUE master’s degree program was a natural step.  The schedule fit my life at the time. I could earn my degree and still do the day-to-day duties and extracurricular activities that were part of my job.

“SIUE was a good fit. The flexibility of their graduate programs makes it a much more accessible opportunity for working professionals.”

School Law was Dr. Skertich’s favorite course in the master’s degree program curriculum.

“The school law course was especially interesting to me. It helps you navigate how to make decisions — especially when you’re dealing with tricky issues like student discipline,” he said.  “It’s a vital course because it is so applicable to school administrators.

“Also, when you read the cases and examples that are the backbone of the course, it sheds light on the importance of communicating transparently with your staff, your community and your families. That doesn’t solve everything, but you don’t want to be the district that gets hit with that litigation.”

Cat Power

Dr. Skertich received plenty of encouragement from his family and friends during both of his stints at SIUE. He and his wife, Stacy, have two children: Anthony (33) and Olivia (14).

“They have always been happy with each step along the way,” he said. “My dad had his master’s degree and was working on his doctorate when I was a child.

“It was motivating to hear what his process was like and realize that was the next step for me to tackle. They were supportive and proud of me.”

Dr. Skertich credits having an advanced degree with creating opportunities for advancement to administration the moment he graduated.

“Having the master’s degree through SIUE opened doors for me in my career,” he said. “I had multiple job opportunities out of the gate as a teacher. I landed my first administration role, and I was successful.”

Plus, the lessons that Dr. Skertich learned in the Master of Science in Education in Educational Administration program at SIUE remain applicable.

“I learned that you have to be honest with your stakeholders and communicate as much as possible,” he said. “Those are things that still resonate even though education has changed a lot.

“It’s been over 20 years since I was in the master’s degree program at SIUE, but many of the lessons I learned are still relevant and hold true to this day.”

Learn more about SIUE’s online MSEd in Educational Administration with a Specialization in Principal Preparation program.

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