Concordia Portland Alum Shaphonya Deane Strives to Change Literacy Problems
Tell us a little about yourself. Where are you from?
What is your education background?
I just recently graduated with an MEd dual concentration in Educational Leadership and Curriculum and Instruction: Reading from Concordia University-Portland with a GPA of 4.0. I obtained a BA in Journalism and a minor in Sociology from Georgia State University in 2004.
Summarize your professional background.
I moved to Germany in 2005 with my Army spouse to begin my career in education when I began working as a long-term substitute at an American military high school. I later moved to Texas where I taught Journalism and AP/English Language Arts at an inner city middle and high charter school for two years. The following year in 2010, I was recruited to teach at a state-of-the-art College Preparatory Art and Design high school in San Antonio where I taught English Language Arts, Speech and Health. Another military move sent us to Kentucky in 2011, where I volunteered for the remainder of the school year in an American military elementary kindergarten class assisting with early literacy skills. I am currently researching more opportunities in education to utilize my MEd and diverse experience as I will be making a permanent move back to my hometown.
Which MEd concentrations did you take at Concordia Portland and why did you choose to earn this degree?
MEd in Curriculum and Instruction: Reading and MEd in Educational Leadership — I chose these two areas because they would put me at the forefront of the major concerns as an educator. If a child cannot read, how will they succeed in school and further? This baffles me as an educator with experience working with middle and high school students who struggled to read. Educational Leadership allows me to prepare to make major decisions in education concerning the future of America’s youth. I plan to use this as a platform to conduct future research in an administrative position.
How did the program affect you personally and professionally?
The program put into perspective that I now have the ability to change the literacy problems that students are having in the school that haven’t been addressed. I was able to apply the strategies in my classroom as I learned them in the program. Also, the leadership program allowed me to see the ‘bigger picture’. I am now more data driven and don’t see a need to act quickly on problems, but to conduct research and then reach a solution.
What position do you currently hold?
Last school year, I was a volunteer in a kindergarten classroom working with students on their early literacy skills.
How has the MEd program prepared you for this job?
The MEd has allowed me to utilize various assessments and strategies to see what level in which the students are reading. Also, I can assist with students with reading difficulties and develop a plan to get them reading at grade level.
What were you doing before your current position?
I was teaching in a high school setting.
If you could give two pieces of advice to new students enrolled in the online MEd program, what would you advise?
- In order to succeed in an online program, you have to be disciplined, self-motivated and organized.
- Use your online community as an opportunity to learn about others in the program, but to also network and please keep your instructors informed because they are only here to help you succeed.