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Aug 21, 2018 | Alumni, Education, MBA, News, SOE Grad, SPGS

Taking on new roles, together

Graduate Nicole Robles with husband and three sons at commencement ceremony

Nicole Robles was content with her role as a teacher and didn’t have plans to change her career trajectory. Then a flyer in the staff lounge piqued her interest.

“I really had no intention of going back to school to earn my master’s degree until I saw a flyer advertising the Baker partnership with my school district,” said Robles, who teaches in the Olathe school district.

The advertisement was for Baker’s Master of Science in School Leadership. After attending the informational meeting, Robles decided it was time to return to school and enrolled in 2015.

“The cohort model and instructors from my district sold me,” said Robles, who found the cohort model different from other graduate programs. “I knew Baker had a rich history, but this modern take on earning a degree excited me.”

Robles looked forward to her courses each week, in part because of the community that was forming.

“The cohort model served as a great support and having instructors from my district made more connections possible,” she said. “We were able to have meaningful conversations and build lasting relationships.”

Robles said she immediately felt supported in her educational goal by her husband, Phil, and young son, Caleb.

“Managing work and school was one of my biggest apprehensions starting the program, but I quickly learned that with the support of my family and prioritizing, time management was not an issue,” she said.

Robles also acknowledged that her time with Baker took a unique turn.

“In the middle of my degree I became pregnant with twin boys,” she said.

Drew and Gavin, also known as “The Baker Babies,” were present alongside Phil and Caleb when Robles graduated in 2017.

Robles is thrilled with the results of her education, and she plans to use her degree to pursue a new role as a principal.

“Since finishing my degree I feel more passionate about school leadership,” Robles said. “Every single minute spent on my Master of Science in School Leadership was relevant, and I was able to use many things I learned the very next day. I am looking forward to putting my skills to use in a leadership role.”

Robles enjoyed the program so much, it convinced her husband to enroll in Baker’s MBA program.

“In my place of employment, I don’t have the experience yet to climb as high as I want,” Phil Robles said. “A master’s degree will help me stand out in place of that experience. I have always felt that I should never stop learning. I want my kids to harness this then go as far as they can educationally.”

While Phil has just started his program, he said he’s enjoying his Baker experience so far and is looking forward to where it will take him.

As her husband prepares to become Baker built like she has, Nicole is preparing to use what she’s learned in the classroom.

“I feel confident making a larger impact on my school community due to the knowledge I’ve gained through Baker,” she said. “This program has shown me that grit, perseverance, and critical thinking can equate to big success.”

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