BOBBY LOPEZ — There are benefits to continuing education while working full-time

Published 12:08 am Saturday, February 25, 2023

Being an administrator for a school takes a lot of time and effort daily. Continuing with your education while having a fulltime job is never easy, but the outcomes are ones that outweigh the hardships many times over.

It requires a strong personal commitment to stay focused on the ultimate goal despite the numerous distractions that life may present.

As a former master’s and doctoral student, having a fulltime job and a family was a challenge, but it is a decision I would never take away from my educational background. Now as a CEO, I have the opportunity to groom and mentor my staff members, and it is with great pride that I always push Texas A&M as one of the choices.

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One of these administrators has been with our program for over eight years and has decided to embark on a doctoral program. The other individual has been with us for over six years and decided on following through on her master’s degree, both great decisions.

They include Bob Hope Executive Director John McLendon and Assistant Campus Director Maricela Valdovinos.

Determining which program one will be enrolled into often first starts with plenty of questions. Potential students must consider cost, whether the program will be in person or remote, and what is the academic standing of the program. In an ever increasingly competitive workplace, academic pedigree especially matters.

In 2023, Texas A&M ranked 32nd nationally according to US News for its graduate program in education, making it a top tier choice for potential graduate students. The fact that I chose Texas A&M University was one that was based on the standing of the college within the education community.

But how do you convey this to your spouse who is interested in having a party to watch the football game this weekend or to your daughter who is involved in dance classes? Or how do you balance your work requirements with your home requirements and now your college requirements?

Then there is the balancing of the money involved to pay for this graduate program. How do I balance my home budget to pay for this enormous expense?

There will be plenty of long nights with coffee as your true friend to finish course deadlines or waking up at 5 a.m. to complete an assignment. Reaching great endeavors is never easy! No one ever said it would be, but once you set your goal to reach them, it is important to have mentors and friends that have gone through what you are going through to help you bounce off your feelings.

Once you are enrolled, you receive your first syllabus for your courses, usually two courses per fall and spring semester and additional courses in the summer.

This is when your family, the time you spend with your children, the time devoted to outside events and activities all come crashing down. It is with much dedication to time and effort that you need to restructure your time and availability to your new endeavor.

Of special note is Texas A&M’s PK-12 Educational Leadership (Ed.D) program. It offers an in-person experience while still allowing one to work full time. It requires one to attend classes five Saturdays a semester.

Through the program, one gains the opportunity to meet other professionals in the field, many of whom either work in the central office or are principals at other school districts in Texas. The relationships one builds through this in-person experience create a camaraderie, one that you can easily access when you have questions about schoolwork.

One also learns from professors who have a lot of experience in the public school sector, some of whom have been superintendents of large school districts in the state of Texas. These individuals become part of your new family!

Ultimately, the PK-12 Educational Leadership (Ed.D) requires three years of course work and one to two additional years of quantitative or qualitative research through which one produces a Record of Study.

It is only then after producing one’s Record of Study and successfully defending it that one can graduate with one’s doctorate.

Your new endeavor, the graduate program at Texas A&M University is one that will bring you much success in your future. Texas A&M University has a history and a long tradition.

You are officially part of the family when you get to attend a football game and see the entire stadium full at 102,733 people and all participating in the fight songs, “The Spirit of Aggieland.”

Lastly, you can’t graduate from Texas A&M without getting your Aggie Ring, a visible reminder of your invaluable achievement at a wonderful university. Gig’em!

Dr. Bobby Lopez, CEO, has served as superintendent of Bob Hope High School since 2010. Contact him at or 409-983-3244.