When we refreshed the ACE look earlier this year, it included the faces of ACE alumni, faculty and staff on ace.edu and across our social media. We knew they would be the best at telling our story, so we wanted to give them a chance to tell theirs, too, in this occasional blog series.
ACE: Tell us about yourself.
Andrea Parker (AP): I’m a middle school English language arts teacher. I earned my master’s degree in educational leadership from the American College of Education in 2011, and I am working on my Ed.D in Leadership.
ACE: What made you want to jump into a master’s in educational leadership?
AP: I’m a lifelong learner, so getting my master’s in educational leadership was just the next step for me. I had a colleague who had just finished their master’s in curriculum and instruction at ACE, and I researched it and really liked what they were offering. I felt that the program was very current with strategies I could use in my classroom today. I also did not have to take off work and go to school full time. That flexibility of being totally online was something that I needed at the time in my career.
The degree allowed me to be a mentor teacher, to lead teachers who were working on projects in their schools to change the dynamics of their school structure and the climate and culture of their schools. I was also part of several programs where I helped mentor new teachers. I do professional development for new and veteran teachers on a monthly basis to better their careers.
ACE: Why did you decide to come back to ACE to get a doctorate?
AP: Getting a doctoral degree has been my lifelong dream since I was a little girl. But as I got older, it seemed more and more unattainable. Many programs require a full-time commitment where I would have to leave my job, or they are extremely costly.
When I graduated from ACE in 2011, it didn’t have a doctoral program. But I stayed involved with ACE and when they eventually got a doctoral program I was like, “This is it.” There was really no question about it. It was in leadership, something I wanted a degree in. It was affordable and flexible, and I trusted ACE.
ACE: What barriers did ACE help remove so you could move forward in your career?
AP: Technology was a huge barrier in my career. I didn’t use it much in the past. Being at ACE helped me integrate more technology into my classroom. And not just in my classroom, but with my colleagues and with aspiring teachers as well. I also didn’t want to go back in debt. I had just paid off my previous student loans and thankfully ACE is affordable enough that I can pay for it out of pocket. When I graduate, I can graduate without any remorse.
ACE: What is one of your favorite things about ACE?
AP: Everybody is very friendly and welcoming, and there’s always something new. I never get bored with ACE. That’s probably why I’m still in the college. They have a tutoring program. They have a writing center. They have a blog. And I just think they’re always thinking about what is needed currently in the education community. They’re always branching off to meet the current needs of society. ACE is always on the move and they’re always thinking ahead.