By Meg Mills
University of Kentucky
Everyone desires to seek out their goal in life, whether or not that be to grow to be an advocate, an educator or each.
For University of Kentucky graduate Lyndsay McCullers, a special education teacher at Simon Kenton High School in Independence, her ardour quickly grew to become her actuality.
From a younger age, McCullers knew special education was her calling.
After graduating in 2013 with a bachelor’s diploma in special education and center grades education from a smaller Kentucky establishment, McCullers additionally obtained a certification, in collaboration with the University of Kentucky College of Education, to show students with reasonable and extreme disabilities as a part of her undergraduate diploma. But she wasn’t achieved there. A number of years later, she enrolled within the College of Education’s nationally-ranked on-line grasp’s diploma program in special education.
“I wanted to go back to school for my master’s to become a better teacher for my students and ultimately seek a position in school leadership,” McCullers stated. “When the opportunity presented itself for me to do this program, I could not pass it up. I knew I was going to get the best education from UK and the professors in my program.”
However, on the evening of Aug. 25, 2021, shortly after she started the second 12 months of her graduate program, her life modified in one of the best, however most sudden method.
Her son, Corbin, was born with Down syndrome, in addition to a significant coronary heart defect.
“We did not know Corbin had Down syndrome until he was born, despite having six ultrasounds during my pregnancy,” McCullers stated. “Two days after he was born, we also found out that he had a major heart defect that would require open-heart surgery.”
The first few weeks of Corbin’s life have been spent in a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), adopted by medical appointments a number of days per week.
“While nothing has gone as planned, Corbin is our perfect blessing. We would go through it a million times over for our boy,” McCullers stated.
Due to Corbin’s coronary heart defect, McCullers needed to take a depart of absence from her research final 12 months. However, with assist from her household — and the web program’s flexibility — she was capable of shortly bounce again in and return this spring to finish her thesis.
“I had to quickly learn how to manage my time effectively in order to maintain a balance between family, work and school life. I relied on my husband, Brett, and my mom and dad to watch Corbin to allow me to dedicate time to completing my thesis in my last semester of school. I would not have been able to finish the program strong without their help,” McCullers stated.
McCullers solely has one hope for the long run — to be an advocate. And her expertise with her own child has made her much more ready to assist her students as properly.
“My goals and hopes for my future as a special education teacher are to continue to love every student that comes through my doors and to equip my students with the necessary knowledge and skills to successfully transition into adulthood,” she stated. “Corbin has changed my perspective by seeing my job through the eyes of a parent. As a parent, I have gained so much knowledge about resources that are available to Corbin and other children with disabilities that I was not previously aware of. I now want to do a better job of helping other parents secure these resources for their children as well.”
McCullers is about to graduate at this time with her grasp’s diploma in special education from the UK College of Education’s on-line program, which is ranked seventh within the nation by U.S. News and World Report.
Pursuing her diploma on-line allowed her to reside away from campus and have the flexibleness to proceed working full-time.
“Even though I was participating 100% online, I never felt like I was a lesser part of the class,” she stated. “Instead, my professors ensured I could interact in real-time with them and other students whenever I wanted to give input or ask a question. When there was collaborative work done during classes, I was always included in the groups and served an active role in the discussion and products we developed together in these courses.”
McCullers credit Amy Spriggs, Ph.D., and Melinda Ault, Ph.D., affiliate professors within the Department of Early Childhood, Special Education and Counselor Education within the College of Education, for shaping each her undergraduate and graduate expertise.
“I called both of them the day after Corbin was born to let them know I was going to have to withdraw for the fall semester and finish the program in the spring due to unforeseen medical obstacles we were going to be facing with Corbin, and I will never forget how they responded to me,” she stated. “Dr. Ault was so excited after I told her Corbin had Down syndrome. She encouraged me that I was going to be the best advocate for Corbin with the knowledge and skills I have gained from my profession and studies. Dr. Spriggs encouraged me that Corbin has given me a new purpose in life. I was going to be walking in the shoes of both a parent and educator for the first time. She has inspired me to want to help other parents be advocates for their children.”
For extra details about the UK College of Education’s Master of Science in Special Education go to education.uky.edu/.
The UK May 2022 Commencement Ceremonies will happen Friday, May 6, and Saturday, May 7, at Rupp Arena at Central Bank Center.
Meg Mills writes for UKNow.