Online MEd Graduates First 100 Students

Launched in the fall of 2013, the fully online master’s degree in education program has quickly reached some major milestones.

Just 16 months after its launch, the online MEd was ranked 75th in the nation on the list of the 2015 Best Online Graduate Education Programs by U.S. News & World Report- one of only two online programs from California universities in the ranking of more than 250 programs.  Since then, it has moved up to 62nd in the category of Best Online Graduate Education Programs and has been ranked 69th  on the list of Best Online Graduate Education Programs for Veterans, also by US News & World Report.

Now, 36 months after launch, the program is celebrating its first 100 graduates.   Students in this program are at all stages in their career, having anywhere from 2 to 28 years teaching in a wide range of contexts.  They live and work around the world and hold a variety of careers including teacher, dean, department chair and instructional technology coach. Of the first 100 graduates, 21 served locally in San Diego, 28 taught in states outside of California, and five taught overseas.  

In developing the first fully online program at USD, faculty focused on making the learning as rigorous and meaningful as onsite programs. Online MEd Coordinator Suzanne Stolz, confident in the quality of the program and in the graduates, said, “This dedicated group of students certainly earned their status as teacher scholars; as graduates, they are taking what they learned and are changing the landscape of their schools and communities. It is our privilege to share a part of their journey.”  

To celebrate the graduates, the program will be highlighting their accomplishments over the next few months. Follow along as we share with you a few of our wonderful graduates.  

Hear from the Graduates

Amy Zapatka, dean of school culture at Achievement First, chose to complete her MEd in our online program because we catered to full-time educators and is well known for its rigorous content. She was also drawn to USD’s program because of its focus on cognitive theory, ethics, equity and social justice.

“Equity in education is something I take very seriously — it’s a passion of mine and it’s what I have dedicated my life and career to. Doing coursework that integrated equity, studying the inequality that is still happening in our country and having those uncomfortable discussions on topics that people are afraid to talk about like the achievement gap and  race in the United States— that’s what I really wanted out of a program and I found that at USD.  There was not one course that didn’t include some element of equity.”

Read an interview with Amy. 


Karl Frank, science department chair at Campbell Hall in North Hollywood, credits this appointment to the advanced STEAM education that he received at the University of San Diego.

“As a science teacher my whole philosophy is that science education should be hands on and interdisciplinary and that students are best served through a STEAM approach. So a project involving biomimicry for instance lets kids get involved with engineering, aerodynamics and the principle of flight to name just a few. Getting a master’s degree in education with a concentration in STEAM combined all of my passions and has helped me tremendously in my career advancement.”

Read an interview with Karl. 


Daniela Keeler landed her current role as an instructional technology coach after completing her MEd.  She now teaches literacy in the digital age and helps teachers effectively integrate technology into their classrooms.

“The position I currently hold was a new position for the district. I didn’t know this job even existed when I went back to school. But when I was going through the University of San Diego program I started to learn what I liked doing in regards to technology and the classroom – and I implemented a lot of technology into my classroom during that year and a half I was in the program and teaching high school English. I remember telling my husband, if I could just take these lessons I’m learning and teach other people how to do it I would prefer doing that. And then I heard about the new instructional technology coach position in my district!

Being in the program changed my whole career path. Now in my current position at the district office I have a wider perspective of what’s going on in my district, which gives me a broader perspective as to what is going on in education as a whole.”

Read an interview with Daniela. 


Kassondra Sosa has been teaching for seven years and is currently employed as a first grade teacher in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

“The USD program has had a huge impact on where I am today. After going through the program I feel that I am able to utilize a variety of teaching strategies and methodologies more regularly and a little more thoughtfully. I feel more confident and competent as a teacher. I will also get a pay bump next year as a result of this degree.”

Read an interview with Kassondra. 


More about the program

Originally created as a collaboration between the School of Leadership and Education Sciences (SOLES) and Professional and Continuing Education (PCE), the program combines the content expertise of the faculty at SOLES with the delivery expertise of PCE to create the best overall experience for students. The program provides K-12 teachers with the knowledge and skills needed to advance in today’s classroom, while allowing them to continue work full time through the flexibility of online learning.

The online degree places an emphasis on 21st century skills for today’s evolving classrooms. Educators in the program can choose from four cutting-edge specializations including Literacy and Digital Learning, Universal Design for Learning and Inclusive Education,  Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math (STEAM), or School Leadership. In addition, the popular specialization in Curriculum and Instruction is available offering a broader, more flexible curriculum. The program also features an interactive, collaborative environment taught by experienced faculty with extensive K-12 experience, and strong networking and experiential learning opportunities.

Stay In-The-Know

For more information about the Master of Education online program, go to or email   To learn more about our accomplished graduates, be sure to follow the online MEd on Facebook, or SOLES on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter.


Devon Foster
(619) 260-4283


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