UNT-Dallas Educational Leadership Student Spotlight: Mary Newton

 My experience in the Master’s in Educational Leadership program at UNT-Dallas has been one distinctively compassionate. I know this to be true because this will be the second Master’s degree of my career. I am currently pursuing a Master’s degree in educational leadership. My first Master’s degree was in psychology.

I’m in my second semester of a leadership program where I will earn a Master’s degree in education. I searched online for nearly six months while working and living in California. I knew I was headed home to Dallas at the end of the summer in 2017 and I found the UNT-Dallas program.

I phoned and talked extensively with a gentleman who was the Superintendent of the Carrollton-Farmers Branch school district. He was very nice and compassionate about the program, and about my contribution to the educational system. I was encouraged. He made himself available to me for any and all questions and he stayed in constant contact until my acceptance letter was delivered. It was amazing!

I am in a cohort and was enrolled in two classes during my first semester (Fall 2017). The admissions coordinator/officer has and will continue to enroll me in all of my classes, so that I am not burdened with taking unnecessary classes. She answered any and all concerns that I had, and showed compassion to me knowing that I have to work full-time and take care of a family, all while attending classes.

My classes during the first semester were rigorous and meaningful. However, my instructors were first-year instructors. This led to frustration and unhappiness among my peers and I. I reached out to the Dean and encountered his assistant. I was reluctant to tell her why I was calling, but she was very empathetic, patient, and kind. She took time to listen to my concerns and complaints. In addition, she was sincere and advised me to speak to the Assistant Dean first. She showed compassion and empathy, which I truly appreciated.

To my surprise, the Assistant Dean contacted me in a timely manner, as the assistant assured me he would. The Assistant Dean listened and did not judge or make light of my concerns. He offered guidance and said that he would do a better job of coaching his new professors. He took responsibility and asked for me to provide feedback before the end of the semester. Things got noticeably better and the classes were enjoyable and informative. I appreciate his compassion and checking in to be sure that I was being successful in the program.

The classes aren’t easy, but they are informative and the professors are masters in their subject areas. In addition, the classes allow us to acquire practical experience with texts that are pertinent to our success as leaders in education. I look forward to graduating in 2019.

Athena Newton, MA
Elementary Teacher and Adjunct Professor at TCC

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