Monmouth U.’s first cohort of educational leadership doctoral students graduate

Monmouth University announced Wednesday it has given out six doctorate degrees to its first cohort of educational leadership students.

The distinctions were awarded at a commencement ceremony which celebrated students who completed their degree requirements in July and August.

The two-year, 54-credit program was launched in 2017.

The inaugural class included:

  • Stephany J. Hesslein, an education technology specialist at Middletown Township Public Schools;
  • Meredith Ann Riddle, a history teacher at Long Branch Public Schools and alternate route teacher certification coordinator at Monmouth University;
  • William Thomas Smith IV, a superintendent at Point Pleasant Beach School District;
  • Thomas M. Toohey, principal at Lawrence Township Public Schools;
  • Ronald Thaddeus Wardell Jr., a math and science supervisor at Monmouth Regional High School District; and
  • Evelyn Cruz, principal of Denver School of Innovation and Sustainable Design in Denver.

“The educational leadership program at Monmouth allowed me to learn from a network of professors and colleagues who lead transformative change in the education field,” Toohey said. “Earning my doctorate has been a rewarding, profound experience and one of the highlights of my professional career. I look forward to designing and implementing innovative strategies I learned through this program to increase student learning.”