Anna Grace Malpass is still a relative newcomer to the teaching profession, but she is wasting no time preparing to move her career ahead at full speed.
“I worked at a preschool when I was in nursing school, which was where I started,” she said. “I was working with three-year-old kids when I realized that education was what I wanted to do with my life, so I switched to that from nursing.”
Malpass laid the foundation for her next career move by graduating from the online Master of Education in Special Education program at Mississippi College (MC) in December 2020.
“I want to do something in special education and be in that classroom,” she said. “Instead of only taking the classes to learn about it, I wanted to go to school and get all of the knowledge that I could. That led me to this program.”
Now in her third year as a second-grade teacher at Leake County Elementary School in Walnut Grove, Mississippi, Malpass enjoyed the flexibility to earn an advanced degree while she gained real-world experience on the job.
“The online format made getting the degree manageable,” she said. “I love the accelerated pace of the seven-week courses. The M.Ed. in Special Education is a very flexible program.”
In addition to a passion for teaching and the program’s flexibility, another factor helped Malpass choose Mississippi College’s online master’s degree program: her husband, Ben, spoke highly of the school as an MC alumnus.
“He had good things to say about it,” she said. “They also had one of the quickest times to completion for the master’s degree special education program. I enjoyed all of the courses I took.”
Malpass grew up in Sand Hill, Mississippi, and worked at the Preschool at First Ridgeland Church for more than four years as she planned for a career in the healthcare field.
After she switched to teaching, she completed a bachelor’s degree in elementary education in December 2018. That bachelor’s program was also wholly online, so Malpass easily entered into the online MC M.Ed. in Special Education program.
“It was great because I could apply a lot of what I learned in the master’s degree program to my classroom,” she said. “I did a lot of looking at my books and reading before I started, which was helpful. It’s important in this program to stay on schedule.”
With a graduate-level degree under her belt, Malpass believes that it’s a matter of time before she achieves her career goal and begins the next phase of her journey.
“I believe that having the master’s degree will help open up some opportunities for me to teach special education down the road,” she said. “It also prepared me to be ready to take on that first job when that day arrives.”
Malpass made the trip to Clinton for the commencement ceremony late last year, and she was thrilled when she could walk the stage.
“It was a fun experience,” she said. “I got to walk with my tenth-grade English teacher from Pisgah High school, Jay Levy. He got his doctorate. That was pretty cool.”
Throughout her time in the online M.Ed. in Special Education program, Malpass had plenty of encouragement from her stepson, Max William, and husband. The couple recently had a daughter, Anna Morris, so completing the degree came at a good time.
“My family and friends were excited and very supportive of me going back to school for a master’s degree,” she said. “I am also the first person in my immediate family to get one.”
In addition to working toward moving into special education and having a toddler at home, Malpass has plenty more on her plate to keep her busy.
“I am the junior high and high school cheerleading coach, which takes up a lot of time,” she said. “I am also a volunteer firefighter.
“My dad got into firefighting when I was little, and I was also a junior firefighter. When I got older, I joined the volunteer fire department.”
Keeping it all in the family, her husband Ben is the assistant chief of the fire department.
Malpass is glad that she continued her higher education journey. She and her husband are now both proud MC alums who recommend the school to potential students.
“I definitely got good value out of the online special education program at Mississippi College. It was well worth it.”
Learn more about MC’s online M.Ed. in Special Education program.