Dr Bret Cormier photo

Dr. Bret Cormier

Associate Professor

(573) 651-2725
Office:  Scully 425D

Properly training and vetting leaders and teachers is critical to the success of the education of our nation’s children. Without responsible leaders and teachers capable of reflection and critical thought, public school students are lost.

What area do you teach?

Educational Leadership Pre-K-12 & Higher education


The University of Texas at Austin Doctor of Education Executive Leadership/Cooperative Superintendency Program
Texas State University-San Marcos Educational Administration Principal Certification
Southwest Texas State University Masters of Education Special Education/Curriculum & Instruction
Park University Bachelor of Arts in Pre-Law/Criminal Justice/Political Science

Your philosophy of teaching:

I firmly believe that the purpose of teaching is to effect social change and produce a more active citizenry. Although my graduate training has been in the field of education, I have always been committed to an interdisciplinary lens of learning and the world. In my own work, I utilize theories from a variety of disciplines and am partial to social theory. This inclination is evident in my teaching as well. My lessons continually present education as the social and cultural event that it truly is. I strive to engage my students critically through readings, assignments, discussions, and in-class activities.

I view myself as a lifelong learner and eagerly attend conferences as well as present my own work at them. Dialogue with my peers, engaging in reflection, and reading to keep abreast of the current research in my field are all continual habits in my quest to grow as both an instructor and a researcher. Just as my goal in my courses is to have students stop, think, and reconsider, I strive to engage my own reflective practice to do the same. Our intellectual responsibility is to embrace critical and independent thought whenever possible. We must continue to challenge ourselves just as we strive to challenge our students.

Why did you decide to teach?

I am fully aware of the weight and responsibility of the professorship in a educational leadership program. Leaders and teachers are the most dangerous individuals in society. A charismatic leader or teacher can lead students to a new world of thinking outside their old perspectives, much like the Pied Piper’s seductive music pulled children from their home community. Properly training and vetting leaders and teachers is critical to the success of the education of our nation’s children. Without responsible leaders and teachers capable of reflection and critical thought, public school students are lost. Without the transformative nature of the student-professor-scholar relationship, public education will continue to reproduce 19th and 20th century thinkers who struggle to live and produce in a 21st century global society.

Credentials/career path

Associate Professor-Tenured, University of Missouri-Columbia Statewide
Cooperative EdD Program-SEMO Site Coordinator, Educational Leadership, Middle, & Secondary Department, Southeast Missouri State University
Doctoral Adjunct Professor Statewide Cooperative EdD Program, Department of Education Leadership & Policy Analysis, University of Missouri-Columbia
Assistant Professor, Department of Counseling, Leadership, and Special Education, Missouri State University
Interim Director of Testing Center, Kentucky State University
Assistant Professor, School of Education, Kentucky State University
Graduate Adjunct Professor, Department of Education, University of the Cumberlands
SureScore, Inc., Senior Research Specialist, Houston Regional Manager
Stony Point High School, Summer School Principal, Round Rock Independent School District
Stony Point High School,Assistant Principal, Round Rock Independent School District
RGK Grant Project Facilitator, Office of the Associate Superintendent of North Elementary Schools, Austin Independent School District
Consultant Member of Knowledge Assessment Team, Stupski Foundation & University of Texas at Austin Partnership
Consultant, Houston Independent School District Superintendent search,Texas Association of School Boards (TASB)
Vice Principal, Mountain Valley School, Comal Independent School District

Professional Highlight

"Someone Like Me in Front of the Classroom" Program


Who's Who in American Administrators

Organization with which you are involved

University Council for Educational Administration (UCEA)
American Educational Research Association (AERA)
American Association of School Administrators (AASA)
Missouri Professors of Educational Administration (MPEA)
Missouri Association of School Administrators (MASA)

Most Recent/Notable Published Work

Leveling the Playing Field: The Normed-Opportunity Paradigm. American Secondary Education Journal, 43(1):33-51.

Best advice for students

Ultimately, education should lead students to look at the typical from a new angle and to embrace the strange. Ideally, students will transgress existing epistemologies and examine how they have constructed their current knowledge and truths, and recognize society’s role in the construction of social and shared boundaries. This paves the way to moving beyond their entrenched truths to construct a more evolved version of themselves. In order to transform students, they must be engaged with the material and see it as relevant to their lives and their professional practice.


Scully Building 411

College of Education, Health, and Human Studies
One University Plaza, MS 5500
Cape Girardeau, Missouri 63701