Student Spotlight December 2017

    Terrie Blackman




    Terrie Blackman is a Doctoral Candidate in Education, Leadership, and Organizational Development at the University of Louisville. The program was recommended by friends after the completion of her M.Ed. in Educational Administration, which was preceded by a B.A. in History and Sociology. In addition to coursework, Terrie teaches 7th Grade at Barrett Middle School in Louisville, KY, and hopes to user her education to elicit change in low performing schools.

    “Terrie is a dedicated veteran teacher who cares about her school and her colleagues. She is committed to exploring why some effective veteran teachers choose to stay in hard-to-staff schools and classrooms when others choose to transfer to relatively easier teaching assignments.”

    –W. Kyle Ingle, PhD





    1. What brought you to the University of Louisville?

    The educational leadership program at the University of Louisville was highly recommended by friends, peers, and others. I had such a positive experience completing my masters at U of L that I decided to also pursue my Ed. D here. Faculty in the Department of Educational Leadership, Evaluation, and Organizational Development are not only knowledgeable, they are friendly, helpful, and accessible.

    2. Specific areas of research (how you chose this research, why it interested you):

    The title of my research is: An Examination of Individual Teacher Engagement and School Climate Characteristics that Influence Highly Effective Veteran Teachers to Remain Teaching in Low-Performing Schools. This research examines individual teacher engagement and school climate factors that influence highly effective veteran teachers to remain teaching in low-performing secondary schools despite the challenges typically associated with such schools.
    I chose this research because in over 10 years of teaching in low-performing schools, I observed the exit of many new and beginning teachers. They often struggled to sustain the performance levels required to help the schools advance to proficiency status.  Many teachers either left to work in other school districts where the work challenges are reputed to be more manageable or left the profession altogether.
    I also noted that there is a cadre of teachers who remained despite the challenges and opted to remain teaching in the low-performing schools. I am interested in uncovering the factors that influence the teachers who remain, to continue teaching beyond five years in such challenging environments. Research indicates that teachers who are likely to leave the low performing schools do so within the first three to five years of their teaching careers.

    3. How would you describe your area of study/ specific research to a friend or family member unfamiliar with your field?

    I am seeking to find out the factors that influence high quality veteran teachers to remain teaching in low performing schools. School districts may use this information to enhance their teacher retention strategies, especially for low performing schools which need highly engaged experienced teachers.

    4. What made you go into this field of study?

    My intention is to become an education administrator. Having worked in low performance schools, I am acutely aware of the challenges in leading the turnaround process when there is high teacher turnover. Each year, administrators have to revisit strategies because the teams are not staying together long enough to achieve the desired outcomes.  

    5. Awards and Publications:

    2016, 2017
    Student Ambassador to the Ed.D and Ph.D. programs making presentations to incoming and current students
    2015 to Present
    Mentor to College-Age Students at the University of Louisville
    2013 to 2015  
    Kentucky Teacher Internship Program (KTIP) Mentor to Intern Teachers
    Selected by students as the Teacher of the Month for the month of February
    Selected by Ballard High School to represent the school in a televised documentary on teacher
    Nominated for the Disney Teacher of the Year Award
    Selected by peers as the Teacher of the Month for the month of March. 
    2006, 2007, 2011, 2015 to Present
    Student - Teacher Mentor/Coach; Mentor in-training student teachers from University of Louisville, Bellarmine University, and Jefferson County Community College
    2006 to 2009
    Selected as the teacher representative featured in the Westport Traditional Middle School magazine.
    Selected as the teacher representative for the Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS) featured on the homepage of the JCPS website.

    6. How do you think this advanced degree will change your role in society?

    This advanced degree will facilitate my goal of becoming an administrator in low-performing schools. It has enhanced my ability to engage students, parents, colleagues, and other stakeholders at deeper levels. I am more equipped with knowledge and skills to influence student development and success. This degree has also inspired me to become more intimately involved in serving in communities that feed the low-performing schools. More intimate community engagement will help me to better understand the cultural, economic, sociological, and psychological factors that influence student behaviors, engagement and performance.

    7. Long term goals/ aspirations:

    My long-term goal is to become a school administrator with a focus on school turn-around.

    8. What accomplishment, academic or otherwise, are you most proud of?

    I am proud to be recognized as the December Student Spotlight. I am also proud to be recognized by my students and their parents, my peers, and my supervisors for my service as a quality instructor, a care-giver to my students, and a teacher leader in my school.

    9. What has been your favorite part of the graduate school experience at UofL?

    I am a life-long learner. A favorite part of my graduate school experience is being a part of a very engaged cohort of students. We have worked closely with each other with the objective of helping each other to succeed. Each of our classes was interesting and relevant. Our cohort emulates that learning can be fun. Despite the demands of the work, we had many moments of laughter as each student shared experiences.  We have lots of fun learning together. 

    10. What do you feel is the greatest challenge that graduate students face and how have you dealt with this challenge?

    One of the greatest challenges for me was balancing my studies with my job. I dealt with this issue by allocating specific days and times for specific tasks. For example, I graded papers on Tuesdays and Wednesdays at work. Weekends were dedicated to completing assignments and projects. In addition to weekends, I dedicated at least two or more hours on Monday - Thursday to reading and writing. Friday was always family night and Saturday evening or Sunday morning was the time I set aside for church. Finally, I always tried to complete assignments at least two weeks ahead of the due dates.

    11. Family life:

    I have been married for 31 years to my husband Orville who also earned a PhD from the University of Louisville. Our daughter Robyn is also a graduate of the UofL Public Health program. My husband and I are very involved in church and community activity. We are engaged in mentoring high school and college-age youth as our way of contributing to their development and serving the community.

    Fun Facts
    A talent you have always wanted:
    I have always wanted to learn how to swim
    Favorite book:
    The Oath by Ted Dekker
    Favorite quote:
    “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”
    Role Model:
    My husband is my role model. I admire his integrity, tenacity, and work ethic
    Favorite Vacation Destination:
    Anywhere in the Caribbean
    If you weren’t in graduate school, what would you be doing now?
    I’m not sure!!