When Krista Redmond was a child, she went from one classroom at school to another one at home.
"I was that little girl who lined up her stuffed animals and taught them what I learned in class that day," she said. "My mother, Linda Jenkins, is a teacher. I grew up going to her classroom and being around schools. It never entered my mind to do anything else."
Redmond graduated from the online Doctor of Education in Curriculum and Instruction program at the University of Louisiana Monroe (ULM) in August 2020. Her inspiration? A teacher, of course.
"As an undergraduate, I had a professor, Dr. Cathy Block, who encouraged me to get a doctorate," she said. "We kept in touch throughout the years. She has since retired but was willing to serve on my doctoral committee. I could have one person who wasn't ULM faculty."
When Redmond started the Ed.D. in Curriculum and Instruction program, she was an assistant principal at Country Day School in Alexandria, Louisiana.
After giving birth to her son, Max, in December 2019, she became a part-time professor and student resident supervisor at Louisiana State University Alexandria. She and her husband, Dr. Patrick Redmond, have two other sons, Luke (9) and Rhett (5).
"The online format made it manageable to divide my time between working full time and being home with the kids," she said. "I was able to balance those things with the coursework. You have to have good time management skills."
Redmond chose ULM for several reasons, including accreditation and the positive reviews she found for the Ed.D. in Curriculum and Instruction program.
"I wanted a doctorate in curriculum, as opposed to administration or the other avenues you could go," she said. "I liked that it was online but close enough to me that if I needed to go to campus, it's a two-hour drive. I drove there to defend my oral comps and met the professors in person."
Hop, Skip and a Jump
Redmond grew up in Plano, Texas, and graduated with a bachelor's degree in education from Texas Christian University in 2006.
She added a master's degree in curriculum and instruction from the University of Texas at Arlington in 2011 before pursuing 18 hours of post-master's work at Lamar University. Despite holding principal certification, she chose the curriculum route.
"To be an effective administrator and leader in the field, you have to be the ultimate practitioner yourself," she said.
The flexibility of earning a degree online has been invaluable to Redmond, as she has changed jobs, had a baby and homeschooled her older sons during the coronavirus pandemic, giving her a "classroom" at home, like when she was a kid.
"For the last three months, we had to do my schoolwork time and their schoolwork time," she said. "They have grown up seeing me work, for sure. My husband is supportive. I have always had a great support system to encourage me to achieve my goals."
Redmond also enjoyed the ability to set her own pace and schedule in the online Ed.D. in Curriculum and Instruction program.
"You can work a full-time position while doing this degree program, but you have to be mindful of which courses you are going to take and when," she said. "Some semesters, I took one course. Some semesters, I could take two courses at one time in the summer.
"I also like how the program allows you to keep going. I took a semester break after I defended my written and oral comps. With a lot of other programs, you can't get off the carousel. This was very flexible and worked with my time and schedule."
On the Road Again
The pandemic changed many facets of Redmond's life including the culmination of her doctoral journey.
"I was planning on going for my defense in person, but it was on Zoom instead with all the craziness of the world," she said.
When she is not busy with school, work and her kids, she has a side business, Whistlin' Dixie Art: Paintings by Krista Redmond.
"People commission me for some pieces," she said. "I am a local artist. We moved to Alexandria almost five years ago because my husband is from here."
She is excited to see where her educational journey takes her now that she has a doctorate.
"I like higher education and will probably stay in it for a while," she said. "I might do some consulting down the line. At some point when my kids are older, I may return to being an administrator in a K-12 setting.
"The ultimate goal is to mold and shape future educators. Then, help current practitioners with best research-based practices."
No matter which direction Redmond takes, she is glad her educators encouraged her to never stop learning and grateful her path brought her to ULM.
"I loved the overall cohesiveness of the program" she said. "You have to chip away at it a little at a time and don't quit. I absolutely felt this doctoral program was of great value and would recommend it to anyone pursuing a terminal degree in education."
Learn more about the ULM online Ed.D. in Curriculum and Instruction program.
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