MT. VERNON – Master's degree student Scott Bunting has had a long and varied career, but there has been one common denominator throughout – a desire to help others.
He started out as a teacher in 1990, then left education to work in hospital administration. Four years ago, however, he returned to education, and then taught math for two years at Casey Middle School.
Now, Bunting is pursuing a master's degree at Eastern Illinois University with the hopes of becoming a school principal. As part of this effort, he is working with Bethel Grade School to fulfill his internship requirements.
“I've always been one that wanted to help other people. And if you can help children, what better thing could you do?” Bunting said.
The internship will involve job shadowing Craig Kujawa, Bethel's principal/superintendent, as he performs his duties. Bunting will also observe classrooms, teacher evaluations and special education programs, and submit reports on what he's learned.
Bunting said Kujawa and the Bethel staff have gone above and beyond to make him feel welcome. Bunting was at the grade school Tuesday to observe the student registration process.
“They're very professional, very kind people,” Bunting said. “I am fortunate they are letting me do this. … Not many take the interest that Craig does.”
Kujawa said he enjoys participating in the internship program and has done so in the past. Serving as a mentor is an important way to ensure more quality people become school administrators.
“One of my teachers went through the program (and) I've had other students do internships with me,” Kujawa said. “Anything I can do to help in the preparation of someone going into the world of administration, I'm happy to do.”
Bunting, a Southern Illinois native, is in the last stage of the master's degree program. He plans to graduate in December with a master's in educational leadership. This will qualify him to receive a Type 75 Administrative Certificate to become a principal.
EIU offers the educational leadership master's degree through the Regional Office of Education's Cohort Program.
Bunting currently holds a master's degree in administration and ran hospitals in Chicago and New York. Even so, that was in the private sector and Bunting is now learning much about how public sector administration works.
“Public and private are two different things, so I am learning a lot as far as public administration goes,” Bunting said.
Bunting said he would like to become a principal in Southern Illinois, but it will depend on what jobs are available.