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Student Spotlight: Bashelia Ward

Radiating as a passionate educator and advocate for knowledge and research, Bashelia Ward, a student in the Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in Organizational Leadership program, aims to bridge her visions for restorative educational practices with her love for fostering equitable opportunities within marginalized communities across schools and districts. As a mom, researcher, and doctoral student Bashelia uses her voice and online presence to offer mentorships for women seeking to achieve their career and personal academic goals in today’s fast-paced and demanding working environment. Hoping to conclude her studies by May 2024, Bashelia Ward sees this moment as just the beginning of her next career launch. 

Striving To Reach The Top

Education was always something important to Bashelia’s family. Growing up in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, Bashelia remembers her mother, who worked as a teacher, telling her “you need to go to school.” After spending just a brief time in Tuscaloosa, Bashelia and her family moved to Chattanooga, Tennessee where she continued her K-12 education before going on to The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga (UTC). Remembering how much she enjoyed learning about science in high school, Bashelia decided to major in biology and upon completion of her degree made the biggest decision of all: moving to Houston, Texas. 

“After graduating from UTC with my degree, I chose to move to Houston – and honestly, that was the best decision for my life at that time,” Bashelia said. “The job market there was bigger and it lent itself to more opportunities for people like me, who only had a biology degree at the undergraduate level.” 

Interviewing left and right, Bashelia was willing to take on any job – just not teaching. And still, after several attempts, Bashelia began to land interviews as a potential high school teacher. However, because of her out of state education, the state of Texas required her to take preliminary exams to test if she had the capability to teach biology curriculum at the high school level. Even so, Basheila passed and began working around the Houston school districts as a biology teacher. And while Basheila was enjoying the classroom, it dawned on her that something wasn’t right. How was she supposed to be ready to teach if she was never exposed to effective teaching methods? Why did those exams require her to prove she could teach biology instead of asking how she would teach it? These questions sparked her interest, even more. 

“I remember thinking that in order for me to become a better teacher and educator, in the long run, I needed to go back to school,” Bashelia said. “Plus, with my added financial situations, I desperately needed to make more, so going back to school and earning a master’s degree made the most sense for me at that time.” 

Motivated to move forward, Bashelia enrolled in the master’s program at Prairie View A&M University specializing in curriculum and instruction. By this point, Bashelia decided to drop teaching and began selling educational products and services for companies like Pearson and Frey Scientific. Working her way through school and up the chain at her places of work, Bashelia felt on top, free and open to whatever came her way. And then, life hit – Bashelia became pregnant. Juggling pregnancy, studying and working , Bashelia wondered what her next step should be. After giving birth to her daughter, and seeing the level of care she needed, Bashelia decided to make another important decision and paused her master’s degree. 

“It was a hard decision because I was being tossed around from either earning an ‘A’, ‘F’ or having to withdraw from the university entirely,” Bashelia expressed. “But, after my daughter was born and placed in the NICU, I decided ‘No, there are other things that are important in my life right now.’ And so, I withdrew and decided to raise my daughter instead.” 

New Goals and Outlook on Life

Fast forward 18 years, when Bashelia sent her daughter off to college, that same spark of wanting to go to school ignited within her. Looking for ways to transfer her previous credits, Bashelia earned her Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Phoenix. With her newfound degree, job opportunities began to pour in. From sales director to regional manager, Bashelia saw the fruit of those long years finally come to fruition. Rising to the top, Bashelia earned her spot at the executive level by becoming the Manager of School Partnerships for the South Region within LINC (Learning Innovation Catalyst). Serving across the southern regions of Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado, Utah, Wyoming and Tennessee, Bashelia went to various conferences offering her company’s services to educators and professionals including, Dr. Jennifer Butcher

In 2019, in the middle of a Hilton hotel lobby at the Texas Association of School Administrators Midwinter conference, Bashelia was recognized for her great work ethic and was recruited by Dr. Butcher on the spot. Unbeknownst to Dr. Butcher, Bashelia was already considering going for her doctorate degree. 

A few conversations later, and Bashelia was sold. Within the next few months, she was already in class with Dr. Butcher as her dissertation chair. 

“It’s just so crazy to me to see how God places people right in your path,” Bashelia remarked. “I was tinkering between two schools and if it wasn’t for the choices I made before, and the path I took, I don’t think I would have met Dr. Butcher at the moment that I did.” 

Now, serving as the Director of Strategic Partnerships for the Neuhaus Education Center, Bashelia is on track to complete her degree by May 2024. Something she is extremely proud of. Hoping to have her friends and family around her to celebrate her great accomplishment, Bashelia is thrilled to close this chapter and focus on what lies ahead. 

“Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would be where I am today,” Bashelia expressed. “I thought my journey was over, and it’s not. The choices I made, the people I met, the jobs I took, have brought me where I am today. The [Ed.D.] program is one of the hardest things I have ever done, but the most rewarding at the same time.” 

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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