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Chandra Holet had a good reason for taking 26 years to pursue an advanced degree.

“I am a single mom,” she said. “I waited for my son, Tucker, to get through school. He is now a senior at Ole Miss, so I thought it was time to go back and do something for me.”

Twelve months later, Holet completed the online Master of Education in Educational Leadership program at Mississippi College (MC) in August 2021.

“My family and friends were excited and supported me completely,” she said. “I told my son that I started after him and finished before him, but he is very proud of his mom.”

Holet is in her 16th year as a Spanish teacher at Byram Middle School in Mississippi. The flexibility of the online format helped her earn a degree and maintain her full-time job without missing a beat.

“It was very manageable. I am so involved at school — sometimes I don’t get home until after 4 p.m.” said Holet, who made the most of the online format due to the flexibility it gave her.

Once she decided to take the leap and enroll in a master’s degree program, she had no problem choosing a school.

“Mississippi College is very prestigious in the Byram area,” she said. “We have people come visit our school and leave brochures, so I had heard a lot about MC.

“I looked at other schools, but they didn’t have fully online, 12-month programs. That made it worth my while. I was nervous because I had been out of school for so long. I knew I would be one of the older students in the class, but it was so easy to learn Canvas [the online course management system used at MC]. I didn’t have any issues.”

Soy Tu Maestra

Holet is from Opp, Alabama, where her high school Spanish teacher, Harriet Beasley, inspired her to pursue a career as an educator.

Before she started her career, Holet graduated from Troy State University (now Troy University) in 1995 with a bachelor’s degree in Spanish, history and secondary education.

“It took me a long time to go back to school, but I finally decided to do it,” she said. “I got in touch with someone at MC who introduced me to the online program and the 12-month degree. I thought I would be able to do it and maintain my job.”

Although Holet has more real-world experience than most students, she believes the online M.Ed. in Educational Leadership program broadened her horizons.

“Teaching for so long, you go through different phases,” she said. “It opened my eyes to seeing things through a different perspective than a classroom teacher. I was able to handle matters differently in the classroom, as well.”

It has only been a few months since Holet graduated, but the master’s degree is already paying dividends in her career.

“I have taken on extra responsibilities here at school because I have an advanced degree,” she said. “The pay raise I received once I finished the degree also doesn’t hurt at all. I would recommend the M.Ed. in Educational Leadership program at Mississippi College to anyone.”

Muy Bueno

Now that Holet has a master’s degree on her resume, she hopes to transition to a role outside of the classroom.

“I am going to look into becoming an administrator,” she said. “One step at a time. I’d like to become an assistant principal and then follow the path from there.”

Holet believes that the key to success in the online M.Ed. in Educational Leadership program is staying ahead of the curve.

“Time management is crucial,” she said. “If you stick with it, you’ll make it through. I love the 7-week classes. Even if something seems overwhelming, it’s finished in seven weeks.

“You have to know how to manage your time — especially if you’re working and studying online to finish in 12 months.”

The experience of earning an advanced degree was worth the wait for Holet. She is happy that Mississippi College helped her realize her dream.

“I enjoyed my classes and professors,” she said. “I learned something from all of them that I am still using now. It’s never too late to go back.

“There are always people to help you. For anyone who wants to further their education, MC is a great place to go.”

Learn more about MC’s online M.Ed. in Educational Leadership program.

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