During her years as an educator, Kelly Andrews has earned four graduate degrees from Ball State. The doctor of education in educational administration and supervision degree, which she pursued online between 2014 and 2015, set her up for a position with one of the top high schools in the country.

Today, she is executive director of Doctors Charter School (DCS), a public school in Miami-Dade County, Florida, providing students with a private school experience. Both Newsweek and US News & World Report have named DCS “one of America’s best high schools.”

“The doctoral process itself is an exercise in perseverance, research, and real world educational opportunity.”

Q: What is your role in your first year as executive director, and what role do you think Ball State played in helping you land this position?

The school’s vision and mission is to develop a college preparatory school as a public choice for parents in Miami Shores. My role this year includes observing all teachers in order to coordinate the evaluation system for all employees, conducting the school-wide accreditation process, and initiating a strategic planning process.

My degrees from Ball State allow for me to serve the school in a central office capacity in areas such as human resources, operations, finance, and public relations. There were almost 80 applicants during the search process and as an out-of-state candidate, these were areas that allowed my background to be considered.

Q. In what specific ways did the online doctorate give you a boost?

The power of the online program is that it met my needs without compromising my school day time with students and teachers. This path also allowed me to grow as a digital leader in the 21st century, something I need to model to students and teachers.

The doctoral process itself is an exercise in perseverance, research, and real world educational opportunity. The faculty and staff at Ball State have been the encouragers and supporters providing students the expectations of rigor and relevance to those who seek this higher level of education.

Q: What problem solving techniques did you gain from the program?

Case studies and the presentation of different scenarios gave me and my classmates insights into situations that we might encounter as superintendents. Working through the decision-making methods and theories allowed us to practice examining a situation from many different perspectives that we might need to understand our constituencies. Since I was working full time while pursuing this degree, I was able to put them into practice right away. It certainly had an avid effect on my position as a principal, which I held during the program.