Spike Cook, Millville, NJ
Spike Cook, Ed.D., Principal, Lakeside Middle School, Millville, NJ. In addition to being a Principal, Dr. Cook published two books through Corwin Press (Connected Leadership:It’s Just a Click Away; Breaking Out of Isolation: Becoming a Connected School Leader). He is the co-host of the popular PrincipaPLN podcast and his blog, Insights Into Learning, was recognized as a finalist for Best Administrator Blog by the EduBlog Awards. Spike earned his Doctorate from Rowan University and is featured in their Alumni Spotlight. Connect with @drspikecook via Twitter.
I am currently the Principal at Lakeside Middle School in Millville, NJ. I was honored to join the Lakeside team in March of 2016. During my tenure at Lakeside, I have worked tirelessly to establish a climate and culture for students and teachers to experience the 21st century. We have partnered with the Millville Neighborhood Alliance to allow students to identify issues in Millville and then solve those issues. One of our groups made a video and submitted it to A Community Thrives (part of the USA Today Network). We also increased our community involvement through establishing The Front Door Project, and Lightning Strikes Bogarts.
Throughout my first year as Principal at Lakeside I have worked collaboratively with students, teachers, parents and community members to re-design our curriculum, decrease chronic absenteeism, and major office discipline referrals. Lakeside won a $10,000 grant for New Jersey’s first 3D Projector through the Skeeter Rabbit Foundation.
I was fortunate to be featured in the Rowan University Spotlight for the College of Education. Here is the article published on their website.
Prior to working at Lakeside Middle School, I worked at RM Bacon Elementary. I worked collaboratively with parents, staff and students to build a world class elementary school. We established a weekly blog, twitter and facebook page. Many of our teachers started their own classroom blogs. Our school was featured in the ASCD instructional video on Classroom Instruction That Works volume 2, and Pearson’s EnVision Math video series.
My educational philosophy is based on the notion that all students can learn. I believe that teachers should use research-based techniques while making data-based decisions to increase student achievement. I view all students as individuals who possess a unique approach to their own learning. I believe that R.M. Bacon Elementary, along with the entire Millville School District, is world class!
I operate as a servant leader because I feel a responsibility to those I lead. This is accomplished by building trusting relationships, providing an opportunity for personal and professional growth, and promoting a collaborative environment in which everyone becomes a stakeholder.
I also utilize transformational leadership. Similar to servant leaders, transformational leaders encourage collaboration rather than individual work. Transformational leaders invigorate their followers by being charismatic and excited about the vision of the organization. In addition, transformational leaders raise people to new levels of commitment to the organization.
The third aspect to my leadership platform is social justice. Social Justice Leaders promote equity and justice for students and attempt to establish school climates in which patterns of discrimination are challenged and negated. To achieve equity and justice, I use four approaches to challenge the status quo: improving experiences for those who have been mistreated, changing the way students and teachers view stereotypes, challenging the invisible dynamics in society that favor some groups over others, and addressing reasons why education has been difficult to practice.
Upon graduating from Eastern Regional High School, I entered Rowan University in 1992 through the Educational Opportunity Fund (EOF). During my time at Rowan I was active in numerous organizations such as Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., Glassboro Environmental Organization, Residence Life, March of Dimes Walk America, and a mentor through the Harley Flack Mentoring Program and Delsea Mentoring Program. I organized the annual College Day for 200 middle school students in 1997.
I graduated in 1997 with a Bachelors of Arts degree in English Literature. I then attended the Graduate School at Rowan Universityand majored in Student Personnel Services. During graduate school, I was a Residence Hall Director for two years. As a residence hall director I supervised 20 Resident Assistants and was responsible for managing 300 students. I graduated with a Masters of Arts degree in 1999.
I returned to graduate college in the fall of 2004 and enrolled in the Master’s Degree in Education Administration at Rowan University. I researched the impact of learning theories in decreasing discipline referrals. I graduated in the spring of 2006.
In the fall of 2006 I continued his pursuit of his ultimate goal, a doctorate. I enrolled in the Educational Leadership program at Rowan University. Throughout my doctoral program, I researched Integrated Thematic Instruction as a curricular approach to assist teachers of at-risk students. I successfully defended my dissertation in February of 2009.
I went through the Alternative Route Teaching program and taught at Camden’s Promise Charter School from 2000 – 2002. Throughout that experience, I taught elementary and middle school Math, Schools-To-Careers, and the Academy Major Selection Class. As a teacher, I integrated team building, critical thinking, and problem solving into all of his classes
As a guidance counselor, I continued to teach in addition to my counseling responsibilities. I taught classes on improving learning awareness, hands-on learning, writing across the curriculum, team building, decision making, and resolving conflicts peacefully.
In the summers, I taught during the time I was coordinator of the SHAPE Program. I taught lessons on team building and integrated learning, and used a variety of techniques to help students solve problems through construction, leisure games, and critical thinking.
After graduate school, I began working for Union County College as an academic advisor with the EOF program. I advised 100 freshman and sophomore college students and began the Union County College Male Mentoring Program
In June of 2002, I began working for Delsea Regional High School District as a Middle School Guidance Counselor. In 2006 I was promoted to middle school Guidance Director. I facilitated several workshops for parents and teachers, coordinated the NJASK assessments, served as the program director for the Talent Search program, and advised several student clubs.
I was also the coordinator and lead developer of the Delsea Regional HS District’s summer SHAPE program. This summer enrichment program is thematic based and utilizes activities and strategies aimed at strengthening academic skills in Language Arts and Mathematics. Academic classes are co-taught and students are intentionally grouped utilizing the Let Me Learn® process. Students also participate in hands-on building projects tied into service-learning and team building.
In 2010, I went back to work for my Alma Mater, Rowan University. As the Executive Director of the Student Services Center of the College of Education, I was responsible for managing the field experiences, academic advising, and certification of education majors. I attended various county superintendent meetings, forged new partnerships with school districts, published the first newsletter on field experiences, and improved the customer service for advising.
I am a member of the Knights of Columbus in Washington Township. I am a volunteer coach for Washington Township Youth Soccer, Basketball and Baseball.
I served as the Vice Chair of the Gloucester County Professional Development Board from 2006 – 2009. I was also active in the Gloucester County Middle School Counselors Association, and the Delsea Regional School District’s New Jersey Quality Single Accountability (NJQSAC) operations committee. I have presented at several state and local conferences on Learning Theories, Making Connections through Thematic Instruction, Summer Program Effectiveness, and Team Building in the Classroom. I was the keynote speaker at the 2007 Rowan University Convocation.
I have two wonderful children, Henry and Catherine!
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Rowan University: Convocation
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