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Arkansas State University

Stephanie Worthey Scouting for Advancement with Ed.S. in Superintendency

A-State online EdS graduate Stephanie Worthey

With all of the teachers and coaches who influenced Stephanie Worthey’s life as a student-athlete, it’s no wonder she became an educator.

“I’ve always loved children,” she said. “I also had lots of great role models when I was in junior high and high school — people who poured into me. Teaching was something that I always wanted to do. I wanted to give a kid back the same experience and opportunities that I had.”

Worthey earned a Bachelor of Science in teaching from the University of Central Arkansas (UCA) in 2001 and a Master of Education in educational leadership from Arkansas Tech University in 2007. She also played basketball at UCA. Now she’s the one guiding and mentoring Arkansas students as a principal at Springhill Elementary School in Greenbrier, Arkansas.

Worthey added another degree when she graduated from A-State’s online Ed.S. Education Degree Specialist in Superintendency program in 2017. Worthey is in her ninth year as an administrator, including three years as an assistant principal and six years as a principal.

“My long-term goal is to be in administration at the district level,” she said. “I knew that, at some point when I got ready, I wanted to be equipped with the right certifications and qualifications for the superintendency level.”

When that day arrives, Worthey will be equipped with the knowledge and hands-on experience she gained in the specialist degree program.

“I think the specialization will open up those opportunities for me,” Worthey said. “Plus, it gave me some good real-life projects to work on. For the most part, it really was the district-level information that was applicable, which was great because I hadn’t had much experience with that prior to this program.”

Two of the more insightful courses for Worthey were ELAD 7043: Management of Operational Systems for Learning and ELAD 7023: School Business Management.

“In the facilities course, you’re going through the building process and having to construct it and see what the construction site looks like with the budget,” she said. “I had to do some meetings with our business manager to be able to help me out and give me some good insight. In the finance course, we did a lot with the budget and seeing how everything works together and how it’s all separated.”

Full-Court Press

As a principal and a mother of four children, Alex (13), Lawson (12), Ace (9) and Breckyn (3), Worthey had to have a fully online format to make returning to college feasible.

“My husband [Dustin] works out of town sometimes,” she said. “Honestly, online was the only option for me. Even with some of the universities that offer online courses, you have to be online at a certain time to go back and forth with your classmates, which wasn’t good for me.

“I needed the flexibility of the program to be able to put my kids to bed at night and then get online and work. I chose A-State for the flexibility of being able to accomplish the coursework on my time.”

Even with a very busy schedule, Worthey could go to work, complete her schoolwork and still be there for the important moments with her family.

“Honestly, it was great,” she said. “We have sports events almost every night — there’s always something. I didn’t want to miss out on that. None of that is going to happen during the day — it’s all going to happen at night, after hours. Being a principal, I have so much going on. The program was such a good fit for me.”

Worthey, who enjoys reading and most any outdoor activity, developed a routine to make sure she always had time for schoolwork.

“We get our assignments on Monday morning,” she said. “They were due on Sunday night. Within that week, I tried to work on it 45 minutes a night, and then I could catch up on it on the weekends.”

Game Plan

Pretty much none of Worthey’s friends and family members were surprised that she went back to school for the Ed.S. in Superintendency online degree program.

“They know how I am, and they know that if there was a next level, a next step, that I would go for it,”
she said. “My husband was very supportive, thank goodness. There were lots of nights spent where we didn’t have any time to ourselves.

“Once we put the kids to bed, it was me getting online and getting my work done. If I hadn’t had Dustin to support that, I would have struggled. For the most part, the kids didn’t know because they were in bed while I was studying, but they didn’t have to deal with mommy being in class or missing sporting events.”

Still, Worthey hopes her kids at home and at school will follow her commendable continuing education example.

“It’s important for them to see that learning doesn’t stop,” Worthey said. “Even though you’ve graduated from college and you have a master’s, you are a continuous learner. That’s kind of what we try to pour into our kids here [at school] … whatever job, whatever occupation, you are always going to be learning.”

Walking in the graduation ceremony was a great way for Worthey to put the exclamation point on her higher education efforts and show her own kids the end result.

“It was a reward to myself for hanging in there and surviving everything,” she said. “It really was fun. It was a celebration of success. I set a goal for myself, and I accomplished it.”

Worthey firmly believes the online Education Degree Specialist in Superintendency program at A-State is ideal for aspiring district-level administrators.

“The great thing about the program is that they embed the internship in with the classwork,” she said. “You are working on internship activities as you are going through the program. The best thing about the program is that it helps you not get behind. As long as you stay on point, keep everything updated and don’t get behind, then you really are in a good place when you get to the end of your program.”

Learn more about the A-State online Ed.S. in Superintendency program.

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