Meet Kimberly Parrott, wife, mom, educator, and student. For Parrott, school is nothing out of the ordinary. While currently earning her Doctor of Education in Organizational Leadership and Certificate in Conflict Management with ACU Online, she has been working in education for the last twenty-six years, and now serves as the District Coordinator at Houston Independent School District. With the changes in virtual learning all over the world due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Parrott was prepared to lead Houston ISD with stride due to her ACU experience, which has inspired her to change the lives of students and faculty both online and in the classroom through emotional and social learning.
Dedicated to a life in education
The Louisiana native started her journey in higher education at Dillard University where she got her Bachelor of Arts in English and later received her master’s in Guidance and Counseling at Prairie View A&M University. In addition, she got her Mid-Management Certification in Education Administration from the University of Houston. After working as a principal and transitioning to her current role as District Coordinator, Parrott decided she wanted to take her strengths to the next level. Throughout the process of finding a school for her doctorate degree, Kimberly prayed that the Lord would lead her to the perfect online program, and He did just that.
A community grounded in care
While she didn’t know much about ACU before enrolling, she knew she was in the right place after the first interaction with her ACU advisor. “Throughout the onboarding process, I realized having the transparency as a believer to talk openly and honestly about my faith and have a community that prays for you and wants you to succeed was special,” she said. “In addition, the expectations from the faculty and the embedded resources available were overwhelming.” She explained that from the writing center, to the opportunities for counsel, it set ACU apart from other universities. “It has been the greatest experience and I’m so happy to be a part of the ACU family. I wouldn’t change my experience for the world,” she reflected.
Since being at ACU, the importance of being a caring educator has become even more apparent and has enhanced her professional work. “The individualized experiences with the professors, as well as the comradery with my other cohort members has encouraged me to duplicate that same type of care in my career,” she stated. “A lot of times when people think of these online experiences, they think it’s technical and that they won’t receive the same connection and support, but ACU has gone above and beyond to let you know there is someone there for you to answer your questions and be heard.”
Beyond the instruction she has received, she is very thankful for the ways ACU has created an inclusive and supportive environment for students of all backgrounds. “As an African American female, I have seen such an intentional effort on behalf of the university to make those who don’t always feel included, feel included,” Kimberly said. “Not only are we a Christian university, we are an inclusive Christian university and it makes me extremely proud to be not only a product of ACU Online, but a minority at ACU.” She explained how she wants others to realize that there is an authenticity to how ACU understands the importance of building a welcoming community for all and that they acknowledge that it is an ongoing process.
From student to instructor
As a District Coordinator, Parrott observes students, teachers, and principals to give them best practices for social and emotional learning. “I lead others on how to address behavior issues and provide support and assistance to our school leaders.” After completing her degree, her goal is to take her talents beyond her current capacity and assist faculty members as it relates to peaceful resolution and making harmonious environments. “Advocating for emotional wellness and balance in all capacities can produce amazing students both educationally and behaviorally, and provide a sound foundation for educators,” she remarked.
Overcoming online instruction
In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, many educators were not prepared for an instant switch to virtual learning, but Kimberly Parrott was no stranger to this format. “Now I’m modeling the things I have gained from ACU Online and I understand the importance of connecting and checking in with my community,” said Parrott. For Kimberly, her biggest takeaway from the instruction she received with ACU Online was reflecting the same care and standards through online education as you would in-person. While she’s eager to put her degree into practice, her main goal is to provide the same care she has received to serve the next generation of learners.
While things have changed drastically in the last year for education, she reflects that it has been so rewarding and she couldn’t imagine doing anything else. She is tasked with continuing to make what she calls the “new new” still fun and personable. As she finishes out her degree and certification, she is excited to take all she has learned to create a better future for the field of education and beyond.
Are you in the field of education and interested about taking your expertise to the next level? Check out acu.edu/online or contact us at 855-219-7300 to learn more about our program and the potential career paths waiting for you.