Crowley ISD Trustees Graduate Together, Receive Doctorates in Education – NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth
The Crowley ISD would like to show off its graduates and two high profile members of the class of 2021.
Lyndsae Benton and Mia Hall are trustees on the school board. And you can now Ed.D. Add. to their résumés. Both women graduated from Mary Hardin-Baylor University in Belton this month with a PhD in Educational Leadership.
“We just decided to do it together and it was really great to have someone to go with on this trip,” smiled Benton.
“I always say if it wasn’t for the cohort, Lyndsae’s roommate, because we would have rooms together, when we went to class on the weekends, they inspired me. They helped me get across the finish line,” said Hall said.
Benton and Hall both got PhDs in their future years, and it took shape when they got in line to register for a board meeting. Benton had already been accepted into UMHB, and Hall was exploring another university. The conversation led to the first day of class together and every weekend after that.
“That was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I took on a lot of challenges, but greatly underestimated the doctorate. It’s been three years of uninterrupted engagements and engagements,” said Hall.
“It was just a great experience for me, even though it was the hardest thing I’ve ever done,” said Benton. “It’s a lot of work. Writing a dissertation is no joke.”
Both women are experienced educators with time as headmistresses. As her career moved her from the classrooms to higher leadership roles, everyone felt empty.
“There were those holes,” when Benton was away from work, her daughter went to college. So Benton got a dog, ran to the school board, and started the doctoral program.
“As a headmaster, you’re used to turning plates. So you always put out fires and people are walking toward you a mile a minute. When I got to headquarters, the work is different. And while there are others in charge, you don’t have all of those plates and balls in the air. I thought this would be a great time to take on a new challenge, “said Hall.
The women have full-time jobs, have families at home, and serve their community. You endured three years of classes and a pandemic to earn the title of doctor. Now that they are on the other side of the challenge, everyone looks back on it with appreciation and admiration.
“I’m 47 years old and just finished my PhD. I’ve learned so much and feel so much more informed and with a better view of the world,” said Benton.
“I’ve learned a lot. It revitalized me. It inspired me. I’ve been in training for 20 years and it gave me a lot of words and theories that go with the things I’ve been through,” said Hall. “It challenges and inspires you to do more and be more effective with time.”
Hall is a Central Office Clerk in Fort Worth ISD and was elected to the Crowley ISD Board of Directors in 2015. The dual experiences helped her see where she wanted to go next.
“It got me to take that next jump and I knew I needed a PhD for that. Ultimately, I think I want to be superintendent,” she smiled.
Benton also continues to be committed to public education. She is a longtime former Crowley ISD educator who joined the board in 2016.
“I’m a lifelong educator, 25 years in training, and that will continue to be the next for me. I didn’t pursue this PhD because I need it for something else or because I was trying to get a promotion. None of that. I did it because it was something I wanted for myself, “she said.
When women graduated, so did their children. Benton’s daughter has just graduated from college and Hall’s son will be graduating from high school in a few weeks.
“Mom” is a track that both of them appreciate, but “Doctor” also sounds pretty cute, even if it seems surreal now. As they shared their experiences, they each offered a few nuggets of knowledge.
“Whatever your goal, you can do it. Perseverance only makes the difference. Set that vision of what you want for yourself and work hard to achieve whatever it is” said Benton. “I want people to know that if you are 47 you can do it if you want more education.”
“So as not to stop climbing. Not to stop dreaming. And while it may be difficult, it is worth it and all you have to do is keep moving forward and eventually you really get to the finish line,” Hall said. “And there will be times when you want to stop but keep moving forward. And I’ll also say, rely on the people around you. Your village is really important. And the people you close your arms with, definitely make a difference. “