Educating a diverse population in the liberal arts

For personal, professional and global responsibility

In the tradition of the Sisters of Notre Dame

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Donald Bittala

Notre Dame College student Donald Bittala, who is pursuing an advanced certification in school administration online at the College, has been offered a principal position before he has even completed the program.

Bittala has started his second, and final, year in Notre Dame’s online Principal Licensure program, offered through the College’s Office of Professional Development. The curriculum calls for a full year of internships, but he will not be a teacher observing and learning from administrators in the field. Because of the skills and knowledge he has gained so far in the College program, Bittala has been promoted to an assistant principal in his school district an entire year before he would have been certified for the position.

“Based on the knowledge I have learned and the relationships I have built at Notre Dame College, I have been able to earn this opportunity for growth and to get a jump start on my intended career path,” he said.

Bittala, who has worked as a history teacher, is now vice principal at Albert Einstein Academy for Letters and Sciences in North Olmsted, Ohio.

Administrative Insight

Not only is he stepping into an administrative role this year at school with his Notre Dame certification, he also is taking what he has learned at the College and hoping to apply it to a seat on the Fairview Park, Ohio, City Schools Board of Education, for which he has announced his candidacy.

Educators who take part in the Notre Dame Principal Licensure program are not only prepared to become licensed administrators in their schools and districts, but they also receive a high caliber liberal arts education centered on fostering personal, professional and global responsibility.

“The classes have been very useful and have provided a lot of great insight into the world of administration that a teacher does not typically think about, much less experience,” Bittala said. “All of the classes have been taught by experts in the field who have years of experience in principal positions, either currently or in the past.”

Comprehensive Curriculum

The eight-class Principal Licensure program at Notre Dame features six classes designed to prepare current teachers to more fully understand the day-to-day responsibilities and body of knowledge they will be expected to carry out once they step into an administrative role. These classes cover school management, personnel supervision, finance, law, politics, policies, assessment and more.

The internships that all educators in the Notre Dame Principal Licensure program enter have them in the field for 250 hours over the course of the year and give them the ability to actively engage in school administration at the district and school levels.

Dedicated Faculty

While there is a vast deal of content to be learned, Bittala said the program’s faculty is dedicated to ensuring students feel supported and confident as they progress.

“I have yet to come across a professor who hasn’t gone out of their way to help me as a student, and a teacher, and to also help answer the questions of a curious future administrator,” Bittala said.

Bittala, a Northeast Ohio native, completed his Master of Education degree from Xavier University and his bachelor’s in political science from the University of Cincinnati. He has earned a four-year Resident Educator License in Ohio to teach adolescents to young adults ages 7-12.

Any currently licensed educators who are interested in Notre Dame College’s Principal Licensure program can contact the Crystal Howitt-Johnson, assistant director of admissions, at 216. 373.6386 or

To learn more about all the professional development programs Notre Dame offers, especially those for educators, review our Office of Professional Development page.

August 2019
by Crystal Johnson

About Notre Dame College

For almost a century, Notre Dame College has educated a diverse population in the liberal arts for personal, professional and global responsibility. Founded by the Sisters of Notre Dame in 1922, the College has grown strategically to keep pace with the rapidly changing needs of students and the dramatic changes in higher education. But it has never lost sight of its emphasis on teaching students not only how to make a good living but also how to live a good life.

Today, the College offers bachelor’s degrees in 30 disciplines plus a variety of master’s degrees, certification programs and continuing and professional development programs for adult learners on campus and online. Notre Dame College offers NCAA Division II intercollegiate athletic programs for men and women and is located in a picturesque residential neighborhood just 25 minutes from the heart of Cleveland. Hallmarks of the Notre Dame experience include stimulating academics, personalized attention of dedicated faculty and staff, and small class sizes.

Notre Dame College is located at 4545 College Road in South Euclid. For further information contact Brian Johnston, chief communications officer, at 216.373.5252 or