What made you choose Marymount University for the pursuit of your Doctorate?
Oddly enough, my doctoral journey began at a different esteemed institution. Regrettably, the prevailing atmosphere there proved to be stagnant and didn't allow flexibility. The university, by its nature, lacked inclusivity and exhibited a notable lack of commitment to address my concerns and predicaments during the imposed pandemic. Thus, my quest for an academic community that could seamlessly combine rigor with a sense of inclusiveness even within the virtual realm ensued.
Marymount emerged as a beacon, enticing me with its promises of collaborative endeavors and a commitment to embrace leaders hailing from unorthodox and innovative domains. Under the guidance of Ranissa Scott, who purposefully walked me through every facet of the application process to my interview with Dr. Turissini cemented my resolve to attend Marymount University.
What do you hope to accomplish by earning an Ed.D. degree?
I aspire to become a teacher leader, originating from the classroom. This position would be atypical of the established conventional leadership positions defined in education. My overarching goal is to be a champion and influence policies to ensure equitable opportunities, access, and resources for students in urban education, aligning their educational experiences with national standards.
What are your long-term professional and personal goals?
Utilizing my doctoral degree, I aim to elevate my understanding of leadership dynamics, paving the way for the realization of my non-profit vision, Bridge Pointe. This organization is dedicated to bridging academic gaps, addressing and mitigating educational disparities by fostering a scholastic approach where all students, particularly those in urban settings, have equal opportunities for growth and development.
Tell us a bit about your background up to this point – personal and/or professional.
I come from a family of educators; my parents, twin brother, and even my sister-in-law have all played pivotal roles in education. My family serves a dual role as both my inspiration and motivation to excel and attain my doctorate degree. There will be three educators in my family who have earned a doctorate degree (brother and sister-in-law), so it is an exciting time for the Reynolds' household.
Professionally, I have been an educator in the DMV area for over 20 years. It is my calling and passion. I find it rewarding to get students to matriculate to the next level, and ultimately this work is my legacy. My commitment to my students is unparalleled and my impassioned pursuit to be a continuous learner is a testament to my dedication to foster an intellectual environment to better serve and empower my students.
What motivates you to complete an online program?
I enjoy the structured pace of the classes at Marymount. As someone with a Type A personality, the clarity regarding assignments deadlines and expectations has been seamlessly provided, aligning with my preference for organization and transparent processes. Engaging with the readings and dare I say, even the assignments has been a rewarding aspect of my academic experience. This program challenged me to think innovatively as a leader but has also spurred a shift in my approach, encouraging a more expansive and global perspective rather than a narrow one.
What is the biggest highlight of your experience?
As I approach the culmination of my academic journey, I am excited to say that this program surpassed my expectations. Reflecting on my experience, I find no shortcomings to critique. The responsiveness and intentional outreach demonstrated by Marymount's staff and professors have notably contributed to my positive experience.
The constructive feedback from professors was also served in a tactful approach, akin to being enveloped in a warm blanket. Notably, the program's language through communication creates a calming spirit when the workload gets heavy. The clarity with which every aspect of the program has been outlined from the beginning to the end.
Recently, I attended a Write-Up Retreat, sponsored by the Ed.D. Department. This afforded me the opportunity to engage directly with my professor and peers, an experience that proved invaluable in fostering collaboration.
Anything else that you’d like to share?
I am extremely lucky to have been a part of the third cohort of this program. My cohort embodied some amazing leaders, principals, teachers, nurses, trailblazers, mentors, etc. who all embraced the challenges together. We worked as a team and encouraged one another throughout the last three years. It was extremely important for me to find a community — with this program, I found both community and friends.