B.S., Foreign Service, Georgetown University
M.S. Ed. Educational Leadership, University of Southern Maine
Ed.D, School Administration, Vanderbilt University
Office Location: Bone Hall
Stephen served 20 years as a US Army officer with command and staff assignments in Air Defense, Infantry and Intelligence. Highlights included G2 Plans officer of 82d Airborne Division, Intelligence, and Operations staff officer for Berlin Brigade, Air Defense, Intelligence and Plans staff of 18th Airborne Corps, and Assistant Professor, US Military Academy. Commanded a Vulcan/Redeye battery in 82d Airborne Division. Awards include: Ranger and Master Parachutist, and Bronze Star Service medal for the first Gulf War. Retired as a Major, taught in a rural Maine high school, served as a high school administrator, and Baptist pastor. Completed education leadership masters at University of Southern Maine and doctorate at Vanderbilt. Taught leadership at Vanderbilt and education at Austin Peay State. Coordinated student teaching and clinical experiences for Austin Peay State. Began teaching at Cumberland Univ. in 2008.
Stephen is a Russian linguist and attended Leningrad State University in 1972.
Courses taught at CU include: School Finance & Facilities, Education Foundations, Classroom Management, History and Philosophy of Education, Assessment for Leaders, Advanced Assessment and Tests & Measurement.
Led Principal Institute for Warren County Schools, June, 2010.
Research interests are principal leadership, analysis of learning data, turn-around leadership of failing schools, assessment, especially the Tennessee Value Added Assessment System (TVAAS). Presented at LEAD conference 2010 on university-district partnership in principal training.
Student Feedback: ( A newly appointed school administrator) “Thanks Dr. Finch. My primary assignments will be teacher evaluations and student data. Your class has helped me to feel more confident in that area.”
( A newly hired teacher) “ Hey Dr. Finch, I just wanted to say thank you for being a very influential professor in my pursuit to be an educator. I have just accepted a teaching position at Francis Scott Key High School in Maryland, as a World History teacher. I am beyond excited! Having you as my professor and student teaching advisor, influenced me to take teaching more seriously. I am very thankful for that. Hope all is well at Cumberland.”
(Another newly hired teacher) “And Dr. S. Finch, everything you taught us about data was right on target with what Benny Bills is doing. The new push in Sumner county this year is to have a "data room" (I think Wilson county and/or LSSD has had this implemented for a year or so already, but I could be wrong..). They want everything to be centered around this data room and hopefully, it will give us a daily visual reminder of where we want our students to be. After the extensive time spent learning about data and its importance, I'm confident in preparing and analyzing data and using it to my advantage. In fact, the new Reading series we adopted will prepare the data for us..which is even better :)”
(An experienced teacher) “I just wanted to touch base with you to brag a little. [Colleague] and myself, the Algebra 2 teachers at Watertown, led all Wilson County schools with our Algebra 2 EOC TVAAS scores for last school year. Not only that, we were in the 97th percentile for Tennessee with a score of 40.0. We used the ideas that were discussed in our Assessment course and used the EOC test to guide our instruction and practice. In 23 years of teaching, I have to say that this was my most rewarding year. I'm very proud to be a Cumberland Grad and especially glad to put the M. Ed after my signature now! Thank you for helping my growth as an educator.”
Stephen has been married for 35 years to Dr. Kim Y. Finch, former middle and high school principal, now also on the CU Education faculty. Daughter, Stephanie is a banking analyst/consultant in New York.
Selected Community Activities: Deacon and Adult Sunday School teacher (15 yrs) at First Baptist Church, Nashville.