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 a chance to tell theirs, too, in this occasional blog series.
In this post, let’s get to know Samantha Recknagel, an M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction graduate.
ACE: Tell us about yourself.
Samantha Recknagel (SR): I am a fourth-grade teacher in the Chicago Public Schools. I teach all subjects except for social studies. I finished my degree with ACE about two years ago in curriculum and instruction with a focus in elementary literacy.
ACE: What made you decide to take the next step and get your master’s degree?
SR: My undergraduate degree focused on middle childhood education, and my areas of concentration were math and science. When I got assigned my student teaching position, it was for fourth grade, the lowest grade that my degree covered. That was pretty terrifying, until I found out that I absolutely loved it. But there were some areas that I didn’t have confidence in, specifically reading and literacy.
ACE: Why was American College of Education the right choice for you?
SR: When I decided to get started on my master’s degree, I looked into some nearby colleges in the Chicago area. They seemed a little out of reach, and if I did really want to do it, it was going to be at least a couple of years down the line or with a lot of student loans.
I was talking to some co-workers about my decision to pursue my master’s and a couple teachers recommended ACE. Some of my co-workers had even gone from completing their master’s to completing a second master’s at ACE. They gave me a big thumbs up and thought it was a great route. That, coupled with it being cost effective, allowed me to start right away. If I had chosen another school, I would not have been able to start when I did. I ended up completing my entire program in less than a year. Once I completed my degree, I had a lot more confidence and tools. I really felt I was able to fill the gaps I missed out on with my undergraduate degree.
ACE: What would you say to someone who’s thinking about going back to school but might feel intimidated?
SR: There’s no reason to wait. ACE was a perfect fit for me because of the cost effectiveness. I was also able to go at my own pace. So when I was a little busier, I was able to slow it down, take one class at a time. And when I did have more time, I was able to speed it up and finish the program a lot quicker than expected. I think it’d be great for anyone.