From Ms. to Doctor

Principal Spicer receives her Doctorate degree


Danielle Bell

Doctor Spicer at the Senior Awards Ceremony posing with the Outstanding Boy of the year, Isaiah Turner. She has been present at every school function she can possibly be at, in support of her students and faculty.

For most students, inspiration to do what they love, and work hard to achieve their goals comes from superheroes, famous singers, writers, actors, or athletes. But one woman is serving as a role model similar to these public figures in her own way- by obtaining her doctorate while supporting her family, and managing a local high school.

Dr. Tiffany Spicer, our principal, has recently been awarded her doctorate degree in Educational Administration from Texas A&M University. Dr. Spicer began working on her doctorate nearly 5 years ago, making the decision to do so after being inspired by her own principal at the time to further her education. She was able to work on it with the support of a number of individuals in her life.

“I decided to pursue my doctoral degree after helping open Cedar Ridge High School,” Dr. Spicer said. “My principal at the time encouraged me to pursue it, and I did so with the support of my family and friends.”

This decision came after she had already obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Social Work from the University of Texas (4 years), and a Masters degree in Educational Administration from Texas State University at San Marcos (2 years).

“I believe education is important to everyone,” Dr. Spicer said. “I also believe that the more education you have, the more possibilities you have in life. After every degree I have earned, a door has opened so I can impact and reach more people. I love education and helping others pursue their dreams. That is what inspired me to keep moving forward.”

The work itself, while challenging, benefited Dr. Spicer in a number of ways.

“The courses I took for the dissertation were interesting to me because I learned about the multiple perspectives and components of education,” Dr, Spicer said. “It was difficult in that it was time consuming. Being a mom, principal, and going to school was a lot but I had a goal and once I set it, I reach it.”

She noted that one difficult aspect of working on her doctorate stood out from others.

“I had to work on time management and balancing everything in general,” Dr. Spicer said. “I always want to be at everything, and support every group, so I had to stay organized while juggling everything. It was an interesting journey but ‘do-able.’ The last two years of working on my doctorate, I was writing the dissertation. When you are writing, you report to your chair (professor). I had to work around her schedule, in addition to the schedule of our school events, as well as my own two children who are involved in athletics in and outside of school. So, balancing all of those things and people was sometimes challenging. And although there were challenges on this journey, it was rewarding because I was able to celebrate the successes of our school and the progress I was making, which encouraged me to keep moving forward.”

I love education and helping others pursue their dreams.

— Dr. Spicer

In the end, Dr. Spicer had 2 different goals in working towards her doctorate, and pursued them in the face of a significant social issue- the minority of women graduating from college with doctorate degrees.

“First off, I did it because I wanted to be a role model and example for my daughters,” Dr. Spicer said. “I want them to know that they can accomplish anything they choose. I also did it for all of the students I serve. This is my fourth school and I have met students from all walks of life. I want them all to know that they can pursue and accomplish anything regardless of their circumstances. If you look at individuals with doctoral degrees, there are not that many women with them, and not that many women of color with PhD’s, so it is also important for that reason as well. I want to pursue the superintendency one day, as well as become a professor at a university when I grow up.”

In short, her efforts produced spectacular results and have allowed her to positively impact not only herself and her family, but the school she administrates as well.

“Having this degree will allow me more opportunities to have a major impact on students and school systems,” Dr. Spicer said. “Currently, as a high school principal, I have gained knowledge on best research practices for schools. I also have had the opportunity to network and learn from others who are in similar positions. As I further my career this degree will provide the opportunity for me to pursue a superintendent position one day. I truly enjoy working here and I truly appreciate the people I work with, as well as our students and parents.”