EU Alumni Perspective: Amanda Adams
Name: Dr. Amanda Adams
Graduation Year: Master’s 2015, Doctorate 2021
Major: Master’s: Educational Leadership, Doctorate: Ed.D in Educational Leadership, Curriculum, & Instruction
Current Position: Lead Teacher of the Health Sciences Academy at Mercy
City and State: Springfield, MO
Tell us about your career and what you do now.
I began teaching in Springfield Public Schools in 2007 and have been serving our community as a teacher for the last 14 years. The first seven years of my career was at Pershing Middle School in Springfield. While at Pershing, I taught 8th grade science and 7th grade math, sponsored pep club and science Olympiad, and coached cheerleading.
In 2013, I felt led to go back to school to be able to provide a better life for my family, since I was a single mother. I began working on my master’s in Educational Leadership at Evangel University. Additionally, in the 2012-2013 school year, an opportunity came up to develop a new program for 8th graders with a medical/health care focus. The pursuit of this degree supported my transition to my new role as the lead teacher of a choice program known as the Health Sciences Academy at Mercy. As a leader in the program, I was instrumental in curriculum development, data analysis, professional learning, student discipline, parent communication, and partner outreach. The Health Sciences Academy is dedicated to providing students with engaging, relevant, and authentic learning experiences.
In 2017, the Lord dealt with me to go back to school to get my doctorate in Educational Leadership, Curriculum, and Instruction. I knew the only way I could accomplish this massive task would be at Evangel. I agreed with the Lord, and this year, I completed my doctoral degree and am looking forward to new opportunities to lead and serve our community.
Today, I work with community leaders to authenticate content and curriculum through real life experiences that utilize professional or expert voices. One of my passions as a leader is to connect students to their future by providing them with career exploration as they learn content. These experiences help guide students to professions that they love. Additionally, I serve on several teams and have presented at several professional conferences. These include SPLS Liaison, department chair, and choice program quality assurance team. Moreover, I have presented at the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE), Greater Ozarks Cooperating School Districts Innovation Summit (GOCSD; 2 years), Missouri School Board Choice Program Showcase, Missouri’s Research and Education Network (MOREnet), and MU Interface Conference (2/17/21). These conferences have afforded me the opportunity to share my expertise with other educators as well as gain valuable insight from other leaders in the profession.
What is your favorite memory from Evangel?
My favorite and most recent memory was my dissertation defense. This meeting was filled with so many emotions, including excitement, anxiousness, relief, and joy. Writing my dissertation pushed me way beyond my comfort zone and required that I lean on the Lord so much. While working on my dissertation, thoughts of defeat and failure were regular, but the Lord insisted that He would help me. He planted the word in my heart and I stood on the verse, “He who has called you, He will do it” (1 Thess. 5:24). It was no longer within my ability but the Lord’s, and that helped me to see it through. And at that meeting, when they pronounced me Dr. Adams, I felt so blessed! He did it! He is so good and He is faithful. Today, my students get a hoot out of calling me Dr., and at the same time, it blesses me. It reminds me of God’s faithfulness and of His goodness.
How did Evangel help you identify/develop your calling?
Evangel helped me to see that my profession was also my ministry. I loved that Evangel had a spiritual component in our learning. The fact that I could talk to my professors and advisor about my faith helped me to persist and ultimately overcome challenges. To be honest, without the component of faith, I would not be where I am today. Knowing that teaching and leading is a calling that the Lord has put in my heart has helped me to remove the pressure of success and helped me focus on ministry and doing the will of God. As a teacher, my focus ultimately shifted from teaching content to loving on students and helping them to grow and develop as young people. Loving on them the way God wants us to. The greatest command that Jesus left us with is to love His people.
How did your experience at Evangel prepare you for life after graduation?
It helped me to build my faith and connect with others in my field, as well as leaders. Again, building our faith helps us to become overcomers. And we all
need faith buddies from time to time. When I had the opportunity to engage with others in my field who would experience the same challenges, it was really helpful, especially as a leader.
What advice would you give a current student preparing for the workforce?
Pray, read your Bible, and feed your spirit. The world needs Christian leaders and examples. Depending on where your grace is and where the Lord has called you to be in your profession, you will likely encounter unbelievers. We are not to be like the world but to be a light unto the world. The best advice I can give is stay close to God, and He will lead you and help you to handle all situations.
What would you look for if you were in a position to hire new graduates from Evangel?
When looking for who I would like to work with, I would look for the following qualities. People who are honest, trustworthy, approachable, kind, and caring. Additionally, employees need to be knowledgeable, confident, effective at communication, reflective, and focused on personal growth and development. Employees should be coachable and willing to grow.