WINONA LAKE — Rachael Hoffert, associate professor of education at Grace College & Seminary, earned a doctorate of education from Concordia University on Dec. 16. She was also chosen to deliver the graduate student commencement address on behalf of all graduate students. After three and one-half years of study, Rachael became the second doctor in her home, joining husband David Hoffert, superintendent of Warsaw Community Schools.
Laurie Owen, dean of the Grace College School of Education, expressed her excitement about Hoffert’s accomplishment: “I am so happy for Rachael and proud of the incredibly hard work she has invested in this degree. Rachael has been an asset to our teacher preparation program for many years with her expertise in literacy development and instructional strategies. Now her deepened knowledge of best practices, leadership principles and the most current research will serve our students and program very well into the future.”
Hoffert chose Concordia University in Portland, Ore., for its online program and combination of transformational and servant leadership principles. “I wanted to grow my leadership capacity while integrating faith with learning,” Hoffert said.
Her doctoral learning experience did not disappoint. For many years, Hoffert’s philosophy of educating has been “a foundational mission opportunity, even if that means reaching just one child at a time.” Rachael views teaching as a calling and a way to impact future generations. Through her doctoral experience, “I began to understand how transformational leadership integrates a high degree of academic knowledge along with a ‘higher good’ of service,” she said.
Hoffert’s passions led her to study middle school English language learners for her dissertation. “The research process taught me how, even in our great country with an education system dedicated to reaching all students, there are still so many underserved in our backyards,” Hoffert said. She is hopeful that her research might impact a future generation of students.
Owen commented, “The relationships Rachael built through her research and the knowledge she gained about educator attitudes toward English language learners will serve Grace College School of Education candidates well for years to come.”