2020 EU Distinguished Alumna Perspective: Dr. Rebecca Donaldson
Name: Dr. Rebecca Donaldson
Graduation Year: 1982
Major: Elementary Education
Current Position: Principal of Weller Elementary School
City and State: Springfield, Missouri
Tell us about your career and what you do now.
I have spent my career in public education in California and Missouri. I believe a great education is the gateway out of poverty, and everyone deserves the best! Currently I’m in my 7th year as the principal of Weller Elementary in the Springfield Public School District. At Weller, over 90% of the students qualify for free or reduced lunch, an indicator of the economic level of the families we serve. There are students from five continents at Weller too, speaking many different languages. Our team is filled with passionate educators who love children and learning.
Connecting the community to the great learning taking place at Weller is vital. Half Hour Heroes come to Weller each day (except during Covid times.) Last year, we had over 85 Evangel students who came to Weller once a week for 30 minutes to hang out with Weller students during recess. These Half Hour Heroes taught students social skills and character development. We can’t wait to welcome our Half Hour Heroes back to Weller.
What is your favorite memory from Evangel?
Friendships that last a lifetime. I’ve been married to my best friend, Steve, for 36 years. We met as leaders on the student ministry board at Evangel and have spent our lives serving other people.
How did Evangel help you identify/develop your calling?
I always wanted to have a career in public education. My learning at Evangel helped develop teaching skills and validated this calling.
How did your experience at Evangel prepare you for life after graduation?
The faculty at Evangel introduced me to the philosophy of the integration of faith, learning, and life. I have spent my life working in public education with children in high poverty schools.
What advice would you give a current student preparing for the workforce?
Find your passion and your gifts, then work hard. Most importantly, remember you are first a follower of Jesus Christ, so reflect His incredible love wherever you land.
What would you look for if you were in a position to hire new graduates from Evangel?
Passion, positivity, character, chemistry, and competency. Maurice and Haley have all of these. I hired Haley, an Evangel alumnus, to teach fourth grade at Weller four years ago. This fall, Haley is the mentor teacher for a student teacher, Maurice, who is also from Evangel. And to top it off…Maurice attended Weller as a student! Both of these Evangel grads are what I look for in hiring graduates from Evangel.