Welcome to the ACE Alumni Spotlight, where we highlight alumni members and share what they are up to.
Laura Maloney (M.Ed. in Educational Leadership, 2013 and Ed.D. in Leadership, 2017) works at Arizona State University Preparatory Academy as a director of academics in the digital public charter school. Since the last school year, its enrollments have skyrocketed almost 800 percent. It offers instruction from elementary through high school.
She is also a faculty member at ACE, mainly teaching in the educational leadership program. Laura also teaches the Florida Educational Leadership Exam test prep course and supports our doctoral candidates as both chair and committee member.
ACE: When and how did you know you wanted to have this career?
Laura Maloney: Education is my second career; I worked for 15 years in the financial industry. When I worked as a bank manager, I used to partner with our local high school and go into classrooms to teach students about banking, investments, budgets, etc. I volunteered heavily in my community and started teaching ESOL in a granted program at our community college to help adults earn their GED. I fell in love with teaching and supporting others in their learning. My husband persuaded me to apply to our local high school and it was meant to be. All my experiences have led me to my career and positions I hold today. I am a servant leader at heart and feel most accomplished helping others achieve their educational goals and reach their highest potential. That is my “why.”
ACE: How did you hear about ACE?
LM: I heard about ACE from the virtual public school I was teaching for in Florida. I already had my M.S. in business but was interested in educational leadership, and I spent a lot of time researching programs and colleges. I live in the Florida Keys; we are a bit remote and it was a challenge to find a program in a brick-and-mortar college. I had some friends who spoke highly of ACE, so I decided to enroll and give it a try. I passed all parts of the Florida Educational Leadership Exam on the first attempt and owe it to ACE.
ACE: How were you able to complete an online degree successfully? What tips would you share?
LM: As an educator and leader in online public schools, I took the advice I most often offer to others: I created a routine, set deadlines for myself, held myself accountable and proactively communicated with faculty members or students if I needed help. Even though ACE is online, students are not alone! There is an entire community at ACE and everyone works to support academic success. Creating good habits, remaining flexible and maintaining a growth mindset can really make a difference in any environment.
ACE: What made you decide to complete a second degree at ACE?
LM: I attended ACE for the M.Ed. in Educational Leadership program. I enjoyed my experience so much that I joined ACE’s first cohort for their doctoral program in Leadership. I am proud to now work with ACE Ed Leadership and doctoral candidates to help them reach their personal and professional goals. I am a lifetime learner and pass that passion on to those around me.
ACE: How has your ACE degree helped you in your career?
LM: My career has flourished from my educational experiences at ACE. It not only offered me the knowledge I needed to be a successful educator and leader, it helped me build confidence in myself so I could apply for positions and interview well. In working with a variety of faculty members with diverse backgrounds, I soaked in all of their words of wisdom and observed how they modeled leadership to learn as much as I could from them.
ACE: Personally or professionally, what are you loving right now?
LM: Innovation often arises in the face of uncertainty and crisis; this pandemic has further proven that. I have enjoyed being able to help teachers, educational leaders and families acclimate to a digital learning environment. So many people may never have tried this modality of teaching and learning and many have a newfound appreciation of it from their success. On a personal note, I have been able to spend time reflecting, reading and trying new hobbies I used to not carve out time for because I was always running here and there at lightning speed. My less hectic, more intentional, way of life is wonderful.
If you have additional questions for Laura, please feel free to contact her via the ACE Alumni Sharing Knowledge (ASK) Network.
If you’re thinking of doing another program, ACE alumni can come back and save $250 to $1,250, depending on the program, plus you won’t pay an application fee. See details here.