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Student Spotlight: Tina Patterson

Focused on creating and distributing award-winning educational curriculum for schools in and around her community, Tina Patterson embodies what it means to have a dream of engaging with students and teachers, and see it come to fruition through hard work, dedication, and resilience. As she embarks on completing her Doctor of Education in Organizational Leadership degree, Tina is leveraging technology and media to inspire students in their academic pursuits while also working on a team to provide educators adaptable, interactive, and equitable learning solutions. Harnessing the power of education and networks, Tina is eager to see how far she will go as a black educator and professional.   

Driven and Motivated

Growing up in Bastrop, Louisiana, Tina’s life wasn’t much different than those around her. Having seen her parents divorce when she was young, Tina says several of her friends were also raised in single family homes which made her realize, ‘This was the new normal, so let’s make the most of it.’ As she grew up and later went into high school, Tina started noticing how hard her mom was working to put her through school. Whether she was on the cheerleading team, running track, or participating in other extracurricular activities, Tina witnessed her mom put in countless hours at work just so she could achieve what she wanted to. And that was a lesson she is eternally grateful for.  

“My parents got divorced when I was in first grade,” Tina said. “And, I remember my mom telling me that going to college wasn’t going to be an option. She wasn’t working as hard as she was just for me to kick back. I knew I needed to do well, and go to school.” 

Entering into her senior year of high school, Tina decided to go to Louisiana State University where she was determined to become an engineer. Attending college, Tina realized that she had a real interest in teaching, but didn’t know if that’s what she really wanted to do. Working part-time at the Boys and Girls Club near her university, Tina ‘fell in love working with kids.’ To her, it brought something out of her that she didn’t think she had. It showed her what it meant to be a compassionate person, effective leader, and upstanding role model. So, she changed her major from engineering to education. And four years later, Tina walked the stage proudly knowing that she not only was going to like her job, but also had the support of her mom. 

“My mom has always been a great supporter of mine,” Tina commented. “She really showed me what working hard really looked like and honestly, gave me insight into what kind of mom I wanted to be later on in life.” 

Like most graduates, Tina began looking for local teaching jobs. After taking up a few positions here and there, Tina decided to move to Houston, Texas for better opportunities, like better pay and time with her younger sister who also lived in the city. Making her way through various school districts, Tina clearly remembers her first classrooms and the many lessons she learned while teaching, coaching, and later, moving into administrative roles such as assistant principal. 

However, despite her various experiences, Tina knew she still wanted to learn more about educational administration. She felt a pull on her heart telling her it was time to go back to school. 

Mastering and Moving

Years later, Tina earned her master’s degree in educational administration from Prairie View A&M University and recalls how fast her life started moving. Being recognized for her efforts in and around the school, Tina was approached by McGraw Hill to become a sales associate for their curriculum. After several years, Tina was promoted to senior curriculum specialist. Now, heading to conferences and national conventions promoting McGraw Hill’s latest educational curriculum and adaptive products, Tina enjoyed the work she was doing, but she still felt that something was missing from her life. And while she did move into new opportunities like becoming the product marketing manager for StudySync, she just couldn’t put her finger on what she wanted to do next. 

Tina would often chat with her coworkers on what their ultimate goals were, and to her surprise, they were the same as hers: they wanted to make a difference in the lives of students. And while earning a second master’s degree could potentially lead her to bigger and better opportunities, Tina figured that maybe that wasn’t the move she needed to make. 

“I would talk to my friends and would tell them how much I craved to use my degree for something beyond just sales,” Tina expressed. “And I just remember telling myself, I don’t need another master’s degree. I need a doctorate.” 

Seeking Out Her Next Move

And so, Tina set out on her mission. For months on end, Tina searched high and low for the best doctorate programs out there that offered her the flexibility and ease to continue her work while simultaneously earning her degree. Then, unbeknownst to Tina as she climbed into her car headed to the airport for yet another conference and mentally discouraged about being – yet again – one of the few non-doctorate black educators at the conference, Tina heard a radio commercial for ACU Online. Five seconds later, Tina felt enlightened. 

“I called my friend I was going to see at the conference and said, ‘Oh my gosh, have you heard of ACU Online?,’ Tina said. “To which my friend replied with, ‘Yeah, actually there’s going to be a lot of ACU Online people at the conference. You should meet some before you leave.” 

Rushing to meet people left and right, including alumnus Kimberly Parrott, Tina was blown away by the number of people that told her how amazing ACU Online was. Needless to say, by the end of the conference, she had already submitted her application and was waiting to hear from her advisor. To her, this was the school she wanted to go to so why waste any more time. 

Today, Tina is a research fellow within the Ed.D. program and is on her way to completing her doctorate degree. In many ways, she didn’t want another degree to hang on the wall. She was looking for an avenue to take her to the next level. Whether it be at her current position or teaching again later on, Tina wants to make a difference. And it’s through ACU Online that she feels like she can. 

“My goal has always been to create a curriculum for marginalized students,” Tina remarked. “That’s always been [in] my heart and I know, by the end of this, I am going to be able to do that – and more.” 

Are you in the field of education and interested in taking your expertise to the next level? Check out or contact us at 855-219-7300 to learn more about our programs and the potential career paths waiting for you. 

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