Mary Ritzdorf Joins Midland University as Dean for Walker School of Education
Midland University is proud to announce the addition of Dr. Mary Ritzdorf as its new Dean for the Walker School of Education.
“Mary brings a wealth of knowledge and experience from working at many different levels of education throughout her career,” Dr. Jamie Simpson, Chief Academic Officer, said. “She will be a great asset to Midland, not only in her ability to work with our faculty but to serve as a mentor to our students. We are excited about all of our new additions to the Walker School of Education.”
Ritzdorf is one of several new faculty members joining the Walker School of Education. Dr. Cammy Romanuck Murphy will serve as the Director of Graduate Programs, while Dr. Krystal Kooiker and Dr. Jill Timmons will join the department as professors. Nancy Christensen was recently promoted to Coordinator of the Teacher Career Ladder program.
Ritzdorf’s career in education spans nearly 40 years, beginning with a 32-year tenure with Millard Public Schools, in which she served in various roles at both the elementary and middle school levels. After retiring from MPS, she was an assistant professor for math and technology at Doane University and also oversaw the supervision of student teachers. Ritzdorf moved to her alma mater, College of St. Mary, in 2019 where she served as Assistant Director for Education.
“I’m very excited for this new opportunity,” Ritzdorf said. “From the first day I arrived here, it felt like a great fit. I’m eager to work with and support our faculty so that they can deliver the best instruction and guidance to our students. Even though I have only been at Midland for a short time, I feel like I know so many people. It’s a great place to work.”
With a vast amount of experience at many different levels of education, Ritzdorf is confident her experience will serve her well in a new capacity. “Every step of my career in education has prepared me for where I am today,” she said. “When you have been in education as long as I have, you have a good idea of what different areas of education look like. I’m not that far removed from working in public schools, so I can share those experiences with our students and provide them with the support they need.”
In her role as Dean, Ritzdorf will be overseeing the entire department. It’s an opportunity she’s looking forward to and she plans to be engaged in many capacities. “I’m not someone who just wants to sit behind a desk; I want to be as involved as I can be,” she said. “I want my students to know who I am as their new Dean. I plan on getting out to the classrooms and watching them grow in their teaching experiences.”
The teaching profession is one that can be filled with ups and downs. As many districts across the nation struggle to fill teaching positions, Ritzdorf wants to inspire students to be passionate about serving in such an important role. “Even though it may be tough times for teachers, this is the best career to be in, and our job is to remind our students of that,” she said. “We’re here to model and show our students what a great career this is. We need to inspire them, especially in their field-based experiences, to continue to do outstanding work in education.”
Ritzdorf feels inspired as she embarks on a new phase of her career. She is looking forward to working with her staff in molding and educating the next generation of teachers. “I’m thrilled to be a part of the Warrior family,” she said. “I am looking forward to working with talented people who have a strong conviction for educating our preservice teachers. Our dedicated faculty has the drive to help students become culturally responsive in teaching and get excited about our program. That’s what brought me here.”
Ritzdorf earned her Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from CSM and earned both a Masters of Education in Educational Leadership and a Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction from Doane University. She gained her Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership from CSM. She has three adult sons, Connor and his wife Mary, Evan, and Jordan, and a 1-year-old granddaughter, Genevieve.