by Amy Vaughn
As a math teacher in California, I was fortunate enough to be hired to teach at a Catholic high school that openly honored the values I felt called to demonstrate. I immediately felt that I was a part of a unique community and wholly embraced the hallmarks of the school, particularly that of community service. In the classroom, I felt that I had much more impact on my students’ emotional and spiritual growth because we could openly discuss our shared values. But beyond this, I believe my students also participated in learning at much deeper levels because of our trust in each other and their willingness to take risks.
During my time teaching in California, I felt called to continue my education to the doctoral level, and these same principles became part of the criteria in my search for a university. I searched the nation for a school that I believed would best suit my needs as a student, a professional, and a Christian. I wanted a school that was small enough to have a family feel, but large enough to have a powerful presence in the education community. In fact, during my first visit to SPU, I could feel the same sense of community, rigor, and spiritual connectedness that I felt at the Catholic high school where I was teaching. I genuinely feel fortunate to have found SPU as a fit for my educational, professional, and personal goals.
Now, as a professional pursuing a doctoral degree, I am committed to innovation and change in terms of teacher preparation and support, especially in light of the high attrition rate of new teachers. This means raising the standards within the profession and teaching teachers as they should teach their own students. I am committed to producing better teachers by maintaining my own research and modeling the latest instructional techniques. SPU has allowed me to pursue these goals. Additionally, the faculty members at SPU have always treated me as a respected colleague and I greatly value their expertise. SPU and the School of Education have far exceeded my expectations and I would recommend this institution to anyone seeking more than an academic degree.
Amy is a student in the Ph.D. in Education program at SPU. She earned a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Atmospheric Science from the University of Louisiana at Monroe, post-baccalaureate teacher certification in mathematics at Texas Tech University, and a Master’s of Arts from Notre Dame de Namur University. She taught high school mathematics in Texas and California and currently serves as an Clinical Instructor of Teacher Education at SPU.