Trey Duke
New Murfreesboro City Schools Director Trey Duke, pictured here in his office on March 11, 2021, earned his third degree from Middle Tennessee State University in May. (MTSU photo by Stephanie Barrette)

For MTSU alumnus Trey Duke, education was a calling.

From his first MTSU degree in education in 2003, his recent appointment to director of Murfreesboro City Schools and on to receiving his doctorate in May from his alma mater, Duke has valued education both as a professional and as a lifelong learner.

“I knew I wanted to teach from an early age. I loved the interaction with students and being able to play a small role in their lives,” said Duke, who served as principal of MCS’ Salem Elementary before taking over the district’s top job on March 1.

Despite his nearly two decades of experience in schools, Duke, who also has his master’s from MTSU, returned to the university for a third time to earn his Ed.D. in assessment, learning and student success, or ALSI K-12, which he completed this past May.

Kevin Krahenbuhl, the director of the ALSI K-12 doctorate program, explained that it is specifically built for professionals who are already experienced, educated and demonstrating effectiveness in the field and is unique from many other graduate education programs.

“It helps those with multiple degrees not simply get more of the same, but rather, challenges them to see things a bit differently,” he said. “It trains scholar-practitioners who are change agents for improving learning for all.”

It is a good fit for working educators as it is built to prepare leaders not only for the future, but to prepare them for and engage them in improving their current, real-world education environment.

“Those who hold high-demand positions are able to capitalize on the challenges they face in their day-to-day work and to take them head-on in evidence-informed fashion, rather than simply going with lore or feelings, all the while receiving support from faculty who all have years of work doing the same sorts of efforts related to improving schools,” Krahenbuhl said.

Duke echoed that the ALSI program has pushed him as an educator and helped clarify his teaching and learning philosophy.

“All of my work with MTSU has played an important role in my thinking and development as an educational professional,” he said. “Dr. Krahenbuhl and his team have created a program that I would hold up against any educational leadership program in the country.”

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