As a military spouse, I served over 14 years in a variety of teaching and administrative positions with the United States Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) and Child and Youth Services, in Cuba, South Korea, Germany, and Italy. Additionally, I’ve been employed as a professor with a stateside university for over 15 years.As a Ball State University alumna, I can attest to the superior quality and value of the Ball State Online program, and the results the program produced in laying the foundation that helped me become a successful teacher leader, administrator, and college professor.
During my time in South Korea, with a friend’s recommendation, I decided to pursue a doctorate in education with an emphasis in special education at Ball State. I spent hours researching various reputable online graduate education programs, including those offered at my alma mater. I was unable to find a program that mixed high rigor with flexible access to the learning platform. As a current faculty member of a stateside university, I qualify for a significant discount but was attracted to the quality, depth of program rigor, and faculty involvement found in Ball State’s educational programs that were not available at many programs I researched.
Faculty and Advisor Support
My professors and advisors helped design a program that enabled success without having to step onto the campus until graduation. The program flexibility allowed me to attend classes and complete coursework during nights and weekends, while maintaining a full-time career with DoDEA and teaching higher education courses in the evenings. Everything including lectures, testing, and my dissertation defense was conducted remotely, via seamlessonline learning platforms. Additionally, my doctoral advisor was always responsive and helpful when I needed support or had questions about my program.
I was able to complete the first half of my doctoral program (including the first half of my internship) while living in South Korea, and the second half of my program while living in Las Vegas, Nevada. Subsequently, I finished my dissertation and the second half of my internship in Southern California where I focused my research on High Achieving Title I Schools. The ability to lead a diverse lifestyle, living and working in multiple locations would not have been possible without the flexibility offered by the Ball State Online program.
I had the pleasure and honor of stepping foot on the historic grounds of Ball State to graduate and be hooded, first an education specialist, and a year later as a doctor by Dr. Marilynn Quick (who supported me throughout the program). It was such a special day for my family, as I am the first to earn a doctorate.
Setting and Achieving Goals
Before I began working for DoDEA or taking courses with Ball State Online, I set a goal: to focus my continued education on improving myself as a teacher leader by filling in any “gaps” from my teacher education program. Whenever I interviewed for a new position in education, I shared this goal with my prospective employer. I believed I could achieve this goal if I continued to work hard toward it every day.
Ball State helped to achieve this goal by customizing and tailoring a learning program that equipped me with knowledge of the superintendent’s position and special education content mastery that I was missing. The relevant knowledge and practical experiences that I gained as a DoDEA teacher and administrator, Ball State student, and adjunct professor have prepared me to be an effective leader and educator in multiple capacities. I am grateful for the opportunities that I had at this institution.
In my eighth year of teaching higher education, my university phased out professors without master’s degrees. Earning my doctorate and education specialist degree prepared me to meet the higher expectations for educators set by the developing university. After earning my EdD, I worked as a gifted resource specialist and English teacher in the Clark County School District in Las Vegas, Nevada. After that experience, I accepted a gifted position in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and continue to teach for the University of Phoenix. Currently, I serve in the Fairfax County School district as an itinerant ESOL educator serving low-incidence special education students and developing curriculum for the District Office.
Dr. Cameron Gonzales-Chenevert, EdS ’13, EdD ‘14