Another Challenge Met for a Master of Education in Educational Leadership Student

April 28, 2009

Toby Fletcher likes a challenge.

Most recently, Fletcher choose to challenge himself by pursuing a Master of Education in Educational Leadership through Texas Tech University's off-campus site in Marble Falls, Texas.

The 38-year-old father of three said that he never really thought he could finish his master's, but wanted to give it a shot after he heard about the program from a representative of the University.

"I never felt like I could handle it," Fletcher said. "But my wife and family encouraged me and thought I could. After the initial fear, I knew I could do it, too."

Set to graduate in May, Fletcher will be a part of a unique group of graduates from the Educational Leadership program. A member of his class will be the programs' 100th graduate, and although the honor has not been bestowed on a specific student, Fletcher claims that his class has elected him to the position.

"We made up our minds," Fletcher said, laughing. "I am the 100th graduate. Of course, everyone else you talk to might say the same thing about themselves."

It would not be a surprise, though, if Fletcher had been designated the 100th graduate by his classmates. With his witty, clever and socially oriented personality, he is obviously a leader.

"I've had the same people in most of my classes, and I feel so fortunate to have them," Fletcher said of the natural chemistry that his particular graduating class has experienced. "We've had such a stinkin' good time. It's enjoyable every time we get together."

Although classes do meet often, a portion of the coursework administered through Texas Tech’s off-campus sites is completed online. Fletcher said that since he learns best in groups, the online aspect of the courses worried him at first. He found out after the program began that there is plenty of face-to-face time and that although the program was sometimes hectic, students learned how to work through it together.

He was also glad to discover the availability and attentiveness of the programs' faculty. Among them, he named Dr. Claudet, for his memorable teaching style, and Dr. Carpenter, for his practical knowledge in the field, as favorites.

While he recognizes that obtaining his master's degree will open new doors for his career, Fletcher said that he is content in his current position, teaching social studies at an alternative high school. He said that teaching students who do not fit traditional learning styles but still want to earn a diploma is enjoyable for him.

He also said that after graduation, his wife's career as a professional violinist will take priority in family planning. She has been accepted to Julliard, one of the world's most prestigious performing arts conservatories, and the family may relocate to New York City in order for her to addend.

In the more immediate future, Fletcher said that celebration is in order to mark his achievement. He invited his entire graduating class to his family's annual crawfish boil.

"It's a big celebration from here on out," Fletcher said of the upcoming festivities. "We're going to celebrate right though the 4th of July."

100th graduate or not, Fletcher said that he feels lucky to have been part of a great program through a great university.

"The feeling is outstanding. I feel privileged every day," Fletcher said. "It has been a wonderful, tough, exhausting and inspiring experience. I would not trade it for the world."

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