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Connie L. Fulmer

Professor, Administrative Leadership and Policy Studies

My story

When I graduated from high school, my plans were to earn my bachelor's degree, become a high school English teacher, go abroad to France during my junior year at Penn State, and return to my local school district to begin my career as an English and French teacher, direct the senior class musical productions, and enjoy a long and productive career showing other rural children like me windows to the world through education. However, during the summer before my senior year I took a job at a state medical hospital and worked with severely and profoundly mentally-challenged women. The experience was so transformative that I changed my major from Secondary English to a dual Elementary/Kindergarten and Special Education major. I added a MA degree in Exceptional Children seven years later and finished my formal education in 1990 with a PHD in the area of Educational Administration. Education was important to me as a female growing up in a rural Pennsylvania in a 90 by 30 square-mile county with only one red light. Some students in our school district rode the bus for over ninety minutes to get to school.

I worked in that rural public school district for 18 years before earning my PhD and joining the leadership faculty at Northern Illinois University. When I attended conferences early in my career, I heard about the work being done here in the leadership program at the University of Colorado. I knew that if I ever left NIU, it would be for a program such as the one here in Denver. Fortunately for me, I was recruited in 2000, interviewed for the position, and was offered the job. It was the best professional and personal decision I have ever made. I've just recently completed my 20th year in higher education and work with my colleagues to deliver our principal-licensure program to teachers and other educators who want to be the leaders our schools. While I've changed the location of where I work, I'm still doing the same job - opening windows and doors to others through education.

My students at University of Colorado Denver

My students are dedicated and talented teachers who are willing to take that next step in credentialing for responsibilities in leadership. While our program, based on performance standards and assessments, makes a difference to the leadership capacities of future leaders, we are blessed by the quality of students that show up for additional course work to earn professional licenses for the role of principal or school administrator.

Classes I teach at the University of Colorado Denver School of Education & Human Development

  • Leadership - EDUC 5751
  • Instructional Leadership and Evaluation - EDUC 5753
  • Leadership in Urban Education - DSEP 7100

My research interests

  • Investigating leadership capacity in urban schools
  • Integrating coaching approaches with leadership efforts
  • Using technology in leading school improvement
  • Technology for educational management
  • Coaching teachers and leaders
  • School administration
  • Adult and distance learning
  • Cohorts in leadership
  • Distance learning
  • Gender issues in education
  • Inclusive education and leadership 
  • Qualitative, naturalistic and narrative inquiry
  • Organizational theory, development, behavior and performance
  • Instructional leadership and teacher evaluation

My hobbies

I love to ... garden and get my fingers in the dirt; listen to county and classical music - though not at the same time; and make or buy art that honors Native American Indian culture. At one time I played the following musical instruments: flute, clarinet, saxophone, guitar, and piano - now it's mostly the piano. I am also a great shot with a release and a compound bow and hold a national archery title. I have three black Labrador retrievers, Buddy, Abby, and Lucky who keep me grounded.

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