Ellen Bell - Doctorate: Educational Administration, 1992
I started teaching in the Austin ISD in 1968 when my twin sister got a scholarship to the UT Journalism School. Dr. Clyde Martin was one of my first professors in my master’s program in curriculum and instruction; she supervised my thesis on Piaget.
In 1974 I went back to UT to get my administration certificate and then again in 1989 to get a doctorate in educational administration. My dissertation was on career commitment of Texas principals. Drs. Ben Harris, Mike Thomas, and Lonnie Wagstaff all encouraged me to contribute from both campus and central office positions. I have been a principal, director of curriculum, and associate superintendent in Texas school districts. I also was privileged to work statewide in leadership development for ten years as a staff member at TASA, the state superintendents’ association.
In June I retired from the Birdville ISD, near Ft. Worth. I am proudest of our starting AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) in the three high schools and now in the middle schools. AVID is a program to support secondary students in taking advanced courses and going to a four-year university. We also added numerous three- and four-year-old programs to help young children get started on the right path in school. So, we helped students as they began school and then in the final push in secondary school to be competitive for higher education.
Now I consult with the central division of AVID on a Michael and Susan Dell Foundation grant to align the middle and high school programs of several central Texas school districts. I also coach school leaders to meet their goals, and am president-elect of the Texas Association of Supervision and Curriculum Development.
Being at UT three times over three decades showed me the big picture of what is happening in education. My doctorate from UT Educational Administration department made me feel I had really joined the profession with a responsibility to influence the future of Texas children.