Although Becky Rose is a new assistant principal at Timber Creek High School in Keller, Texas, she is well acquainted with having a lot on her cafeteria tray.
Rose earned a Master of Education in Educational Leadership & Policy Studies online from UTA while she was a full-time high school teacher, a drill team instructor and a single mother of four -- Breelyn (15), Braden (12), Brennan (9) and Brighton (6). She graduated in December 2014.
"I wanted to challenge myself and provide a better living situation for my children," she said. "To physically attend classes would have been impossible for me to do under those circumstances."
Rose made the most of the flexibility of the online program to balance everything in her busy life and earn a degree that led to career advancement.
"It was wonderful," she said. "I am a driven, disciplined person, so carving out the time to work on school wasn't the issue. It was the flexibility piece I so desperately needed to achieve this goal. I spent probably 4-6 hours a week on school. I wouldn't be in my position without the master's degree."
Rose graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of North Texas in 2000. After several years in the classroom at Keller Independent School District, she was eager for a leadership role. Earning the master's degree from UTA opened that door.
"I've always been interested in how our campus and district leadership function and examining and understanding the processes that get us to our destination," she said. "I wanted to be part of a team that has an impact on education and makes a difference in the lives of others. I am a new assistant principal, a job I couldn't have gotten without this degree, and I am learning something new every day."
Close to Home
Rose could have enrolled in a master's degree program at most any university, but the one that was best for her situation was about 20 miles down the road from her.
"I selected UTA because it has a strong reputation and because it was one of the few universities to offer a solely online master's program," she said.
EDAD 5380: Diversity in Educational Settings was Rose's favorite course in the online M.Ed. in Educational Leadership & Policy Studies curriculum.
"Our society and our districts are made up all of types of people, each carrying their own story and experience," she said. "You don't know what you're going to get each day in your interactions with people in this job. This course opens your eyes to the realities and sensitivities of our diverse culture."
Rose found several of the courses applicable to her career -- especially now that she has advanced to the role of assistant principal.
"Little bits of the master's program appear in all of my tasks every day," she said. She notes specific courses help with specific parts of her work, "Leadership Theory -- day-to-day interaction leading teachers. Diversity in Educational Settings -- experiences with parents from all walks of life and their various perspectives.
"Curriculum Design, Implementation and Evaluation -- understanding curriculum strands and having that baseline for data talks. Political and Legal Aspects of Education -- understanding the laws as they pertain to education. Capstone Practicum -- where the rubber meets the road, seeing real-life application of theory."
Rose, who grew up in the Houston area and attended Eisenhower High School in Aldine, looks forward to gaining experience as an assistant principal as she continues to grow as a leader and add to her skills.
"I'm very fulfilled in the position I am in," she said. "It's hard to say, at this point, what my ultimate career goal is."
Wherever the road takes Rose, she should be ready for just about anything given all that she managed to balance during her time as an online master's program student.
"My friends and family were extremely proud and in awe of how I would manage all my responsibilities," she said. "If you are even remotely contemplating this degree -- do it! If I can get my master's degree under the circumstances I did, you can, too."
Additionally, Rose hopes her children will use her experience to guide them through tough situations they face and give them the confidence to rise above and overcome any obstacles. They were all there to see the fruits of her labor on graduation day.
"It would thrill me for my children to follow in my footsteps and get their master's degrees, but more than that, I hope I was an example to my kids," she said. "Life will throw some unexpected curveballs your way. And it will be hard, it will feel impossible, but you will persevere. You can do it."
Rose will always be grateful for her experience in the M.Ed. in Educational Leadership & Policy Studies online program. She will also always be a Maverick.
"UTA's program provides the knowledge you need and the flexibility our busy lives require," she said. "Receiving my master's is my proudest achievement. UTA holds a very special place in my heart."
Learn more about the UTA online M.Ed. in Educational Leadership & Policy Studies program.
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