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Dr. Sam Dockery '10 & '23

Dr. Sam Dockery graduated from the University of the Incarnate Word Teacher Education Program in 2010 with his Master of Arts in Teaching, and then with his Doctor of Philosophy in Education 2023. During his 23 year career in public education Sam has worked as a classified employee, paraprofessional, teacher, district wide Behavior Specialist, Assistant Principal, and Associate Principal.  He has recently been selected as the principal of Bandon High School in Bandon, Oregon. Sam shared that experiences at UIW helped him obtain a high-quality teacher preparation experience that combined rigorous academic theory with practical application while always keeping a student-centered approach to education that uses students’ experiences, perspectives, customs and culture to improve the classroom.

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Catching Up with Cardinals

Dr. Sam Dockery '10 & '23

Dreeben School of Education

Thursday, June 13, 2024

Q:   Can you share the moment you realized that you wanted to be a teacher?

A:   I realized that I wanted to be a teacher when I worked at a Day Care Center one summer in high school. Working with the younger kids and watching their imagination and wonder as I assisted them with project-based lessons inspired me to want to pursue education as a career.

Q:   Can you share with us your experience in the UIW Teacher Education program? How did it prepare you for your career in education?

A:   The impact the UIW Teacher Education Program had on my career and my life can not be understated. The course work at UIW challenged my thinking in new and interesting ways. The Teacher Education program provided me with both theories and practical experiences that were academically, intellectually, and personally challenging. And I met my wife in Dr. David Campos’ graduate school class back in 2006. 

Q:   What is your favorite memory from the Teacher Education program at UIW?

A:   It would be difficult to pick just one! I have so many wonderful memories of time spent with the professors there, from Connie Sabo-Risley, Rex Field, Dr. Bill Carlton, Dr. David Campos, Dr. Diane Fisher, Dr. Mary Ruth Moore. I could spend days recalling the passion, expertise, and assistance these educators provided me with to become the educator I am today.

Q:   How long have you been working in education?

A:   I have been in public education for 23 years serving in a wide variety of roles. 

 

Q:   As a principal, what are some of the key responsibilities and tasks that you handle on a daily basis?

A:   As a school principal I view my main duty as that of the lead teacher. I spend as much time as I can out of the office, making sure students and teachers see me in the classrooms, the hallways, and in the cafeteria so that I am always visible and available. Of course there are administrative duties related to managing data, processes, and personnel that I need to tend to daily. 

Q:   What do you love the most about your current job?

A:   I love that I have the ability to shape and promote school culture which has a positive impact on both students, and teachers. As the steward of the school, I set the core values that move students toward success and ensure that teachers have the tools and support they need to provide all students with equity and excellence, every day.

Q:   How do you think your experience as a teacher has influenced your approach to leadership and your ability to support other educators?

A:   I vividly remember the daily challenges I faced as a teacher and have always led with that in mind. From lack of funding for resources, to paperwork, trainings, etc. I try to tackle as much as I can so that the teacher can devote as much time as possible to teaching students. From writing grants to fund classroom tools and resources to managing administrative tasks; I believe it is necessary to provide teachers with as much time as possible so they can focus on students.

Q:   Looking back on your journey, what advice would you give to someone who aspires to become an educator?

A:    Education is truly a calling. Sometimes the days are long, and exhausting. There’s rarely enough time in the day to complete the administrative tasks associated with teaching, and the pay is pretty stagnant. The challenges can be overwhelming; however, we have the opportunity make a difference in a child’s life. We have the ability to change the world! 

Q:   What are your career goals for the next five years?

A:   This will be my first year as a principal so I would like to remain in the roll for at least the next five years. There is always more to learn in the world of education.

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