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How I advanced my career with an Ed. D. in Leadership from Gardner-Webb University

Hunter Jolley Ed. D.
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Growth is a long journey of striving to achieve excellence by pursing the path of excess.    If you would have told childhood me that I would one day have a doctorate degree you would have been received with a look of disbelief.  You see, being raised in a single parent home in a single-wide in Chesnee, South Carolina possibilities are limited at best.  Education was the only way for me to break the cycle found within my family and to place my stamp on the world.  Fast forward to age 28 where I had obtained my master’s degree at Gardner-Webb University.   

Why I pursued my Ed. D. in Leadership Studies

I was working as a successful, full-time classroom instructor chairing countless committees, extra-curricular activities, and blazing a path within my career.  What more could I possibly want?  The answer was more open doors.  I wanted to give myself and my family as many opportunities as possible as it pertained to my career.  I knew that the only way to create that magical skeleton key was to continue to achieve at my highest level possible.  A part of that came from hard work and dedication to the craft of education, the other would come from a challenging and rewarding degree pursuit.  I wanted the ability to show my two daughters that anything they can imagine is a possibility.  I wanted to make my family proud.  I wanted to have the chance to voraciously pursue my dreams of becoming a superintendent.  I knew that the only way to get any closer to those desires was to achieve my Ed.D. in Leadership Studies.  Looking at the progress I had made in my career already, I knew that Gardner-Webb University would be a sound investment of my time, energy, and money. 

Where I saw immediate changes in my teaching career

With an Ed. D. in Leadership in hand I would open all doors possible as it pertains to jobs within education.  Several things changed almost immediately as I worked through and finished my degree.  Some highlights were being named as a top five finalist for the South Carolina Teacher of the Year program, transitioning into an assistant principal role at the fifth largest high school in the state, being named as an ASCD emerging leader, and being awarded a position as an adjunct professor with the University of South Carolina.  The degree itself gave me the added value I needed to begin to achieve my dreams.  It gave that ‘childhood me’ a chance to live his best life.  Essentially it provided a path for a 30 year-old kid to be recognized and given the opportunities to lead in a larger capacity.  With the Ed. D. I can ultimately work in any capacity within the realm of education.  Doors are no longer locked and shut tight.  I can officially pursue my dream job of being named a superintendent.  I can offer my expertise to a larger audience that are more receptive of my ideas and thoughts.  The degree transformed my life in all of the best ways possible.  I cannot wait for you to start your journey! 

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