Explain your career path
I started my career in the Normandy School District as a classroom teacher. After a period of time, I worked as a Resource Specialist to classroom teachers. The project ended and I had the good fortunate to return to a classroom position. Later, I worked as a district coordinator for State and Federal Programs, Principal and Central Office Administrator. After 32 years, I retired and spent the next eleven years as professional developer for a state-funded project.
What was your major at Southeast and what led you to that?
I majored in elementary education as a result of a life long desire to support others.
Why did you choose to attend Southeast?
Let me begin by saying that 1968 was an intense time, I thought about staying home and attending a historical black college. However, two teachers from Beaumont High School in St. Louis recommended SEMO. They were former alumni and strongly suggested that I try the university. I decided to give it a try. It was, somewhat, affordable and close to home.
Who influenced you most during your time at Southeast?
Honestly, Southeast was difficult for me in 1968. I felt alienated and not a part of the larger community. I didn't have a relationship with many teachers and there was a little connection among the students of colors. However, I had two teachers that made a significant difference in the time I spent at Southeast. (Bonwell - history/McAllister - psychology) My student-teacher relationships involved working in the community to support others. It provided a sense of fulfillment that encouraged me during my collegiate years.
What is the most important thing you learned while you were at Southeast?
The art of not giving up in spite of the differences was a huge lesson learned. Life offers challenges but those who persevere can survive. Most importantly, I learned the importance of honoring and respecting differences.
Describe Southeast in three words.
Accessible, Affordable, Challenging
What is your greatest professional accomplishment?
My greatest professional accomplishment was/is maintaining a focus on educating children of promise. Knowing that zip codes need not determine the outcomes for others. This laser like focus continues in retirement as I work with my sorority or other community based groups. This focus supports my words and actions throughout the local community.
How did your education at Southeast prepare you for what you are doing today?
I entered Southeast feeling as though this collegiate environment was not designed for people like me. Early on, I decided that I had to survive and successfully accomplish my goals. To that end, my educational preparation encouraged me to maintain a focus on continuous improvement for my self and others. The academic rigor prepared me for my career path which I continue to use as a consultant or a community volunteer in most educational settings.
What advice would you give current students or recent graduates interested in pursuing a career in your professional field?
Educational preparation is bigger than meeting the academic standards. You must "want" to teach all students. It is critical to know the written curriculum standards and possess the ability to help all students reach a mastery level. If you are truly committed to educating all students, plan on teaching your students with a global focus regardless of their current instructional levels. Be able to establish a relationship with your students that communicates a message that failure is not an option. Plan on being the teacher that remains current, relevant and able to mid-course adjustments in your teaching so that no one falls through the cracks. Three ideas remain a must..........collaboration, commitment to continuous improvement, and a focus on results.
What do you wish you had known before graduating and entering the "real world"?
I wish that I had developed more strategies to deal with people who were not honest in their intentions. Strategies that encouraged more inclusive conversations about relationships and what to do immediately when others are not successful.