Michele Brownlee loves teaching. In the five years she’s spent as a kindergarten teacher at Pray-Woodman Elementary School in Maize, Kansas, she has affected the lives of hundreds of students. But as someone who loves a challenge and proudly tackles them head on, she knew kindergarten wasn’t her final career move.
“I absolutely love teaching kindergarten,” Brownlee said. “The amount of joy and laughter each day brings is amazing. Teaching kids has been my passion since I was a small child; however, I know myself and I love to be challenged.”
Brownlee will graduate in December with her Master of Science in School Leadership degree from Baker University School of Education after taking a long and twisting road through the master’s program. She started the MSSL program at Baker, fresh out of her undergraduate degree. A year later, she got married and found that maintaining a newlywed life, work, and college courses was nearly impossible.
Choosing to step away from the MSSL program was difficult, but she followed her own advice and listened to her heart: She wanted to continue, but knew she had to be realistic. When she resumed the program in 2017 to finish what she’d started, she knew she was ready for whatever would come her way. And now she’s looking forward to her next challenge: leadership.
“Managing work and school is not an easy task,” Brownlee said. “There are times where you feel like you cannot manage. My biggest tip would be to keep going, always remember you started the program for a reason. You will feel so accomplished when you finish.”
Being able to take her classes in Wichita and learn from principals, assistant superintendents, and superintendents from the area has been the biggest asset to the program.
“Having the opportunity to build connections with them and hear about their experiences have made this whole process extremely valuable,” Brownlee said.
Brownlee is not sure where her adventure will take her next. But she is certain about one thing: She will be ready for the next challenge that comes her way.
“I am so blessed to have had the opportunity to go back to school to learn and grow in my career,” Brownlee said. “I cannot wait to see what the future has in store.”