The Ed.D. Program Showed Christina Just How Strong She Truly Is

Family of four strolling down a side walk on the main street of a town

Meet Christina DiDonato Dillon, mother of two (Luke, one year old and Filomena, 10 months old) and wife to Drew. Christina earned her undergraduate degree in early childhood education and sociology from Rowan University in 2011, graduated in 2016 with her M.A. in school administration, and is currently working toward earning her Ed.D. in educational leadership. Christina lives in Hammonton, NJ (Atlantic County) with her beautiful family while working as a real estate agent and assisting her parents with the family business, KMD Constructions. This is truly one woman who can do it all!

A woman in a pink top and white pants with her hand on her hip posing on a busy town street sidewalkChristina, a lifelong Prof, found her love for teaching at an early age and knew Rowan University would be the school to help her achieve this dream. “I knew Rowan was the choice for me,” said Christina. “I was most impressed with the devotion its faculty and staff have towards education and truly teaching it like a calling.” During her time within the College of Education, Christina has had the opportunity to learn from inspiring professors. Creating connections that helped her find her first teaching position in the Deptford Township School District. Christina has had seven years within the public schooling system teaching pre-kindergarten, kindergarten, and second grade.

Now, working toward her Ed.D in educational leadership, Christina looks back and reflects on the accomplishments she’s already achieved and the dedication she’s put into the program. When entering the Ed.D program you can expect to conduct heavy research into a topic you choose and must get approval for by faculty within the program. You will grow your understanding of qualitative and quantitative data, build more on courses from previous graduate and undergraduate programs, and eventually A family of four with a son and daughter sitting at a coffee shop table happily talking to each othercomplete a dissertation. “The coursework is incredibly reflective,” Christina explained, referring to the educational leadership program. “It’s something that helps you to better understand ‘who am I,’ allowing you to apply the concepts in real-world situations.”

Through this program, Christina learned about the strength she’s always had within her and discovered what she was capable of accomplishing. “The program is so motivating and also difficult, but it brings you to a point of ‘what kind of person am I as a leader, as a teacher, and as a person in a family?” Christina revealed, referring to juggling all her responsibilities. The program, though challenging, benefits its students in ways one might not expect. As Christina has shown, you may learn more about yourself through A woman wearing a pink shirt holding a baby girl in front of a decorative chalkboardworking towards an Ed.D while still gaining that higher education.

“Leadership influences change toward a shared vision through empowerment and built relationships. The concept that leadership is an influential process is the thought and definition I endorse. When thought of as an influential process, we can combine the ideas that leadership is complete as a trait, ability, skill, behavior and relationship.” An excerpt from Christina’s dissertation, which is titled Organizational Culture, Partnerships, and Placemaking — Social Emotional Learning via the Perspectives of School Leaders and Parents in an Early Childhood Setting: An Ethnographic Case Study.

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Story and photography by:
Alexander Belli, new graduate with a B.A. in public relations and advertising

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