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Schwartz Leader-in-Residence

The Schwartz Leader-In-Residence (LIR) Program, named in honor of Dr. Stephen W. Schwartz (1940-2006), the founding and longtime dean of the McDonough Center, is designed to infuse leadership across the Marietta College campus. The McDonough Center works collaboratively with a department to bring to campus an outstanding leader in the department’s academic area of interest. During the academic year, the Schwartz LIR works with the department faculty to develop and implement a project that enhances the leadership knowledge and skills of the participants. The project is open to students in the department, based on selection criteria established by the department chair in close consultation with the Schwartz LIR.


The 2015-2016 Schwartz Leader-in-Residence:

Dr. Stephanie Starcher is Superintendent of Fort Frye Local Schools in southeastern Ohio.  Throughout her 19 years in education, Dr. Starcher has served as an elementary teacher and principal and is also an adjunct professor for several colleges and universities.  Wal-Mart recognized her as a Teacher of the Year in 2001, and in 2009, she was selected as part of the Ohio Governor’s Institute on Creativity and Innovation in Education.  Under her instructional leadership, the schools in which Dr. Starcher was an instructional leader have consistently improved their state accountability ratings.  Because of her proven track record, she is often asked to speak at state-wide conferences on topics related to continuous improvement. 

Dr. Starcher obtained her undergraduate degree in elementary education at Marietta College in 1992 where she was part of the McDonough Leadership Program.  She then earned a graduate degree as a reading specialist from Marshall University and later completed her doctoral studies in education administration at Ohio University.  Dr. Starcher’s written work was selected for the Outstanding Dissertation Award by Ohio University in 2005.   She currently resides with her husband and two daughters in Belpre, Ohio. 


Project Description:

In the past decade, Ohio has experienced a phenomenal number of educational mandates, which has resulted in turbulent times for its educational system.  Educators are faced with rapidly occurring, unpredictable change.  As Leader-In-Residence, Dr. Starcher will help students identify some of Ohio’s critical issues in education that are associated with such unprecedented change, which may include, but are not limited to, school finance, standardized testing, curriculum standards, teacher evaluation, pre-service teacher preparation requirements, and school choice.  Students will investigate the historical and political development of specific critical issues in education and the related state policies and laws.  Such research will increase students’ capacity to address the demands that are inherent in education given limited resources, diverse community needs, and conflicting interests.  Each student will be connected with a practicing teacher and administrator who can share perspectives on the critical issues from the field.  In the spring of 2016, the students will use knowledge gained from their research and conversations with practitioners to make educational policy recommendations to state legislators and/or lobbyists.  Although the focus of this project is educational issues within Ohio, these educational topics are relevant nationally and the skillsets gained are applicable to other political and policy-making venues. 


Project Goals and Plans:

For the fall semester (2015):

·      Students will identify current critical issues in Ohio’s education system and the implications these issues have for Ohio’s schools.

·      Students will recognize how larger political, social, economic, legal, and cultural contexts historically and currently influence state educational policies, and in turn, affect student learning at the local level. 

For the spring semester (2015):

·      Students will discuss current critical issues in education with practicing educators.

·      Culminating project experience:  Students will take a position on current critical issues in education and present that position to state legislators and/or lobbyists in Columbus, Ohio.


Project Outcomes:

·      Expanded knowledge of Ohio’s educational system.

·      Exploration of the historical and political development of critical issues in education.

·      Application of information gained from the field to a political and/or policy stance.

·      Further development of research, writing, and oral communication skills that culminate in a written brief that is presented to state politicians and/or lobbyists.



The 2014-2015 Schwartz Leader-in-Residence:

Kathleen Reddy-Smith '71 retired from the U.S. Foreign Service after a twenty-nine year career.  She served in Islamabad, Brussels (both the bilateral mission and the U.S. Mission to the European Union), Paris, and Rome, where she was Counselor for Economic Affairs and then Minister Counselor. She was Special Assistant to Richard Armitage for International Assistance to the newly independent states of the former Soviet Union and monitored economic reconstruction of Bosnia following cessation of hostilities. She wrote a book on international finance used throughout the U.S. Government. Her last assignment was as Deputy Coordinator for Pandemic Influenza, where she supervised a USG-wide effort to prepare the United States globally for a possible pandemic, the first time such protocols were in place around the world.  

She attended Marietta College, and was inducted in 2007 to the College's Hall of Honor for her humanitarian and diplomatic work in pandemic preparations.  In 2012-2013, she was Diplomat-in-Residence at Bridgewater State University in Massachusetts, where she lectured on foreign affairs, negotiation strategy, and women's issues.  She also began a lecture series, the John Quincy Adams Distinguished Speakers in Foreign Affairs, in honor of one of the founders of Bridgewater. She is a Member of the Board of Trustees for DACOR, an organization in Washington, D.C., for foreign affairs professionals, and for the DACOR Bacon House, a federal home and museum in Washington, where she is also Assistant Curator and supervises the restoration of the House and its furnishings.  She holds Masters' degrees from the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University, Harvard University, and the U.S. Naval War College.   She lives in Kingston, Massachusetts, and is restoring a federal home and gardens there.  Her husband, Thomas Smith, a member of the U.S. Secret Service, passed away in 2007.


Project Description:

Kathleen Reddy-Smith began her Schwartz Leader-in-Residence project teaching strategic writing and analysis in Political Science 325 (Middle East Politics).  The Middle East exists as a truly tense and important region in world politics.  The course challenged the students to consider a number of factors that increase the complexities of policy-making in the region, such as: the legacy of imperialism in the region, the influence of the Cold War, the underlying religious realities of the region, the ongoing implications of Arab Spring, the fallout of the United States’ recent activities in the region, as well as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. As the Leader-in-Residence, Reddy-Smith introduced the students to writing techniques, including brief writing and policy memorandums that added a significant layer of real-world policy-making to the class.  In the spring of 2015, the students participating in the Leader-in-Residence project used their newly developed professional writing skills to analyze and make policy recommendations on countries outside of the Middle East.  The project culminated with student presentations to region specific policy experts in Washington, D.C. Travel expenses for the student participants were provided by the Schwartz LIR Endowment.


Project Goals and Plans:

For the fall semester (2014):

(1) Help students transit the gap between writing for professors and writing for the professions.  Lectures: “Mind the Gap” (after the broadcasted warning to tube passengers in the London Underground to step over the gap between the platform and onto the train).  These lectures will help students make the leap over the gap from academic to professional writing.

(2) Apply the precepts of strategic writing to a particular foreign policy problem identified as part of the coursework in Middle East Politics.

For the spring semester (2015):

(1) Discuss leadership by nations as distinct from leadership by statesmen.  What are the similarities and what are the differences?

(2) Assign a country to each student to identify the U.S. national interest; further refine analytic and drafting skills using strategic writing; prepare a brief on the U.S. national interest in his/her assigned country.

(3) Culminating project experience: travel and present the brief to a senior U.S. policymaker in Washington, D.C.


Project Outcomes:

(1) Deeper understanding of how leadership works in international relations and U.S. foreign policy

(2) Expanded knowledge of the U.S. Foreign Service Program

(3) Honed Skills in briefs and policy-making memorandums writing for the U.S. Department of State

(4) Sharpened oral communication skills – through a presentation to a senior U.S. policymaker in Washington, D.C.

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