speaker
Principal
Spike C. Cook, Ed.D.
spike.cook@millvillenj.gov



Educational Philosophy

“Without systems thinking, the seed of vision falls on harsh soil” – Peter Senge

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!
 

Leadership Platform

Servant leadership is the building block for my leadership platform. 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.
 

Education

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 University and 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.

 
Teaching Experience


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 co instruction, leisure games, and critical thinking.
 

Career Experience


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 .

 
Community Involvement

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. 
 

Family

I have been married to Theresa since 2000. We have two children, Henry, who is seven and Catherine who is four. Theresa is staying home with the family this year. She is a certified special education teacher and spent 10 years teaching in the Washington Township School District. We reside in Washington Township, New Jersey.
 
 
Publications
 
I have published two books through the Corwin Connected Educators Series. In the fall of 2014, I published Connected Leadership: It's a Click Away. In the fall of 2015, I published Breaking Out Of Isolation: Becoming a Connected School Leaderalong with my PrincipalPLN Podcast Co-Hosts Theresa Stager and Jessica Johnson. For more information, please check out this link.  
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