Delaware Academy for School Leadership

Dr. Elizabeth Farley-Ripple is an Associate Professor at the University of Delaware.  Her research focuses on issues of leadership, organizational improvement, and capacity building at the school and district levels.  She is an experienced mixed methodologist, with expertise using large administrative data sets, multi-level models, survey research, and social network analysis as well as engaging in large-scale qualitative data collection and analysis.  Her research expertise is in policy analysis and evidence-based decision-making, and she has worked on a range of educational and social policy issues, including administrator mobility, school and teachers’ use of data, teacher quality and effects, and issues of equity in a variety of student outcomes such as dropout, educational attainment, teen fertility, and postsecondary access. Dr. Farley-Ripple is an active member of the policy and practice communities through research partnerships with districts, coordinating and advising in education leadership programs, working with the Delaware Department of Education, and participating in Delaware’s cohesive leadership system for statewide principal preparation reform.


Beth Conaway is the principal of Morris Early Childhood Center in the Milford School District. Morris ECC houses all pre-kindergarten and kindergarten students in the Milford School District. Beth just completed her sixth year as principal at Morris ECC.

As principal, Beth created and implemented full day kindergarten programming for the Milford School District. This implementation included designing the Response to Intervention program for both reading and math, embedding a reading comprehension block, improving student engagement by embedding classroom discourse, and most recently, the implementation of Common Core State Standards in ELA, math, and science. Beth also led the initiative to differentiate the special needs pre-kindergarten program. This differentiation of programming has resulted in the creation of a rubric that is used at initial Individual Education Plan meetings. The rubric determines the number of days and type of classroom support that a child is given in the pre-kindergarten setting. A non-verbal classroom, ELL/language support classrooms, and a behavior support classroom are now present to meet the individual instructional needs of the special education pre-kindergarten students.

Beth received her undergraduate degree from James Madison University. She received a Masters of Instruction and Doctorate of Educational Leadership from the University of Delaware. She also has her National Board Certification in Early Childhood Education. She has completed 25 years of work in education in the state of Delaware with 19 of those years as a classroom teacher in kindergarten and third grade classrooms.


Steven H Godowsky, Ed D., Program Associate, Delaware Academy for School Leadership (DASL)

Steven earned his Doctorate in Education from Temple University and his Masters and Bachelor’s degree from Rowan University. He taught exceptional children in a variety of classroom settings and served as an educational diagnostician for the Association of Children with Learning Disabilities (ACLD). In 1977, he assumed his first administrative position as a supervisor of Exceptional Children/ Special Programs for the Delaware Department of Public Instruction. In January 1982, Steven joined the New Castle County Vocational School District (NCCVTSD) as an assistant principal. During his twenty- eight-year career at the NCCVTSD, Steven also served as a high school principal (11 years), assistant superintendent, (3 years) and as superintendent of schools for eight years. He retired on July 1, 2011 when he accepted a program DASL Program Associate position at the University of Delaware.

Steven received a number accolades over his 40 year career in public education including being recognized as Delaware Principal of the Year in 1994-95, Superintendent of the Year in 2010, and he was elected President of the Delaware Chief Officers Association in 2008. Steven has extensive experience in teacher and administrative appraisal systems, school leadership, supervision, school reform issues, and in creating balance scorecard strategic plans.


Eileen M. McAllister, Ed.D. earned a Bachelor’s degree from West Chester University, Master’s degree from Rowan University and Ed. D. from Widener University. Dr. McAllister began her educational career as a Middle School teacher, staff developer and grades 7-12 department chair with the Lower Cape May Regional School District in N.J. In 1993 she became Vice-Principal of Burlington Township High School in New Jersey. After 8 years as a high school administrator she moved to the district office to serve as Pre-K-12 Director of Curriculum and then on to Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction. Upon retiring from New Jersey, Dr. McAllister worked in the Appoquinimink School District as the Director of Secondary Education. Dr. McAllister’s areas of expertise include building and district leadership, staff supervision, professional development, teacher and administrator recruitment and retention. Currently, Dr. McAllister works with the Delaware Academy for School Leadership out of the University of Delaware. Through DASL, Dr. McAllister has served as a mentor to new administrators, conducted Comprehensive Success Reviews, and provided training for teacher leaders. For the past 3 years, Dr. McAllister has co-facilitated DASL’s ASPIRE program.


Joan L. Buttram currently serves as the Coordinator of the University of Delaware’s Educational Leadership Program (Ed.D.) and the Director of the Delaware Education Research & Development Center. Prior to coming to UD, Dr. Buttram directed the Southwest Educational Development Laboratory’s (SEDL’s) $35 million regional educational laboratory contract. She also has served as the Director of Program Evaluation for two other regional laboratories (RBS and McREL) as well as the Director of Testing for Newark, NJ Public Schools.

Dr. Buttram has spent most of her professional career working with schools, districts, and state departments of education to improve their educational programs. At SEDL, she oversaw multi-year improvement efforts in 25 districts across five states (Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas); these efforts focused on helping districts and schools make system-wide improvements in their instructional programs. In Newark, NJ, she was responsible for managing all district testing, as well as working with both teachers and principals to use test data to improve instruction. At UD, she has conducted numerous research projects that examined distributed leadership, professional learning communities, and professional development opportunities for both teachers and administrators in Delaware. She also is currently conducting research on how the results of student testing inform instructional practice.

Dr. Buttram teaches doctoral students enrolled in UD’s Educational Leadership program. She has taught the following courses: Principles of Program Evaluation, Leadership: Theory and Practice, and Doctoral Internship. She has served as the chairperson and/or committee member for over 30 students in this program.