Jacqueline Perry-Higgs ‘21EDD: ‘I Have a Desire to Impact Teaching and Learning by Supporting Teachers and Administrators as They Diligently Work to Change the Lives of Children’
With a passion for curriculum and instruction, Jacqueline Perry-Higgs ‘21EDD joined the Northeast Leadership Academy’s first Ed.D. in Educational Administration and Supervision cohort. During her time in the program, which is designed to prepare future superintendents, she engaged in research and discovered mentors who helped her grow as an educator. Now, she plans to apply what she learned in the program to her current position in Bertie County Schools and to potential future roles as either an assistant superintendent or chief academic officer.
Learn more about Jacqueline Perry-Higgs
Hometown: Louisburg, North Carolina
Area of Study: Ph.D. in Educational Leadership, Policy and Human Development educational administration and supervision program area of study
Activities: I serve in the church and surrounding community.
Why did you choose the NC State College of Education?
I was part of the Northeast Leadership Academy’s first Ed.D. in Educational Administration and Supervision cohort.
Why did you choose your area of study?
I chose educational leadership because I aspire to be an assistant superintendent or chief academic officer in a school system. Since entering education, curriculum and instruction has been my passion. I have a desire to impact teaching and learning by supporting teachers and administrators as they diligently work to change the lives of children.
What do you hope to accomplish in your field after graduation?
After graduation, it is my hope to continue to work in the field of education. I still have the desire to become a chief academic officer, as well as an education professor at a university to help prepare future teachers or administrators.
What’s your next step? What do you have planned after graduation?
After graduation, I will continue in my position as a director of secondary education. I have a heart for public education, especially in the socially-economically disadvantaged areas. There is more work to be done to identify how to increase student achievement and how to retain highly qualified teachers in low-performing school districts.
How has the College of Education prepared you for that next step?
The College of Education has prepared me for the next steps in my career by providing high quality experiences and extraordinary people to mentor me on my journey. Both my advisor, Associate Professor Lisa Bass, and my co-chair, former State Superintendent of Public Instruction and Professor of the Practice Mike Ward ‘77, ‘81MS, ‘93EDD, held me to high standards and pushed me toward greatness. I have attended conferences where I presented my research and I received a fellowship where I was chosen as the representative to speak on behalf of the graduate students. The coursework, guest speakers and individual work sessions have impacted my personal and professional growth within the field of education.
Do you have a favorite memory from your time in the College of Education?
My first publication! I was shocked. Dr. Bass taught us a class that focused on scenarios in educational leadership. As part of the class, we were assigned to write about a scenario, fictional or nonfictional, and submit it to the Journal of Cases in Educational Leadership. When I received an acceptance email, I was thrown for a loop! My work was accepted by a peer-reviewed journal. I became a published author!
Tell us about an experience you had with the College of Education that had the biggest impact on you or your career.
As I reflect on my experiences, I would have to say my favorite memory is when former State Superintendent of Public Instruction June Atkinson and former Gov. Jim Hunt ‘59, ‘62MS visited our class. Having discussions about education policy and listening to both of them talk about their experiences was enlightening. Both speakers challenged us to make a difference in education. Gov. Hunt showed passion when speaking about his time in office. He made it very clear that we had the power in our hands to make a difference.
Why did you choose education?
I have always wanted to be a college professor. I never thought of being a school teacher. I am pretty sure folks have heard, “I did not choose education, it chose me.” I was a lateral entry teacher. I graduated with my first bachelor’s degree with a double major in communications studies and psychology. I was a case manager for a group home. At the time, my mother was a school secretary, and the principal she worked for sent an application for me to complete. I completed the application and was hired as a fourth grade teacher. As I began my career as a teacher, I realized the importance of educating children. School is a microcosm of society. One day I was teaching, and it hit me like a lightning bolt. These children will have to take care of me one day. I began to teach even harder to ensure the students in my classroom would be prepared for their next grade. Education makes the world go around. Education is an important aspect of everyday life.
What are your research interests and what inspired those interests?
My research interests lie in the impacts of integration, sense of belonging and sense of community. My interests are inspired by working in low-performing districts and observing how those districts are predominantly filled with African American students. I am interested in learning how all three constructs impact the teaching and learning in low-performing, socially-economically disadvantaged districts.