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May 3, 2018 | EdD, Education, News, SOE Grad

A small-town teacher achieves big dreams


Lisa Braun is just days away from graduating with her Ed.D. in Educational Leadership from Baker, achieving a lifelong aspiration.

“I chose to go back to school and get my degree primarily because getting my doctoral degree has long been a dream of mine,” said Braun. “Additionally, I eventually would like to be a district administrator, so getting a degree along with that licensure was important to me.”

Braun is well on her way to achieving those goals. After finishing the year as a math teacher at Oskaloosa Junior/Senior High School, next year she will serve as the K-12 assistant principal for the district that is 50 miles northwest of Kansas City.

Returning to school is always a challenge. Working full time while balancing family and social obligations wasn’t easy, but Braun stayed focused on the end result.

“Just like any goal you set your mind to, you find a way,” said Braun. “I was surrounded by amazing people that helped me along the way: my colleagues, my classmates, my family and friends.”

The structure of Baker’s program made it an easy choice for Braun, who found the setup to be much more accommodating than that of larger universities.

“Baker has the best format by far,” said Braun. “With the cohort model, you are on track to graduate and don’t have to worry about getting into classes or whether they will fit into your schedule. Additionally, the program is set up to give you a head start on your dissertation, which I appreciated, given the experience some of my friends have had trying to finish their dissertations at a larger university.”

Because Braun came from a smaller school district, she was apprehensive at first about learning with colleagues from much larger districts. But she soon found her footing in Baker’s open environment.

“[The Baker experience has been] in a word, rewarding,” said Braun. “As a teacher from a small school district, the atmosphere can be a little intimidating at first, what with the administrators from the large Johnson County, Kansas, school districts in attendance. However, you quickly realize that we’re all in the same business, that their problems are markedly similar to yours, and that we can all learn from one another. There were times when I felt I really contributed to the conversations we had in class, largely due to my role in my small school district.”

Becoming Baker built has allowed Braun to expand her network of fellow educators.

“So far, I feel much more connected to administrators around the state of Kansas who were in my cohort group and could, if needed, be called upon to help me in my current position,” said Braun. “The Ed.D. program at Baker prepared me for success by being a catalyst for some very good discussions and by providing the opportunity for me to grow as an educator.”

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