Editor’s note: Story provided by University of Kentucky.
Everyone wants to find their purpose in life, whether it is to become a lawyer, to become a teacher or both.
For Lindsay McCuller, a graduate of the University of Kentucky (UK), a special education teacher at Simon Kenton High School (Kenton County), her passion soon became her reality.
From a young age, McCuller knew that special education was his calling.
After graduating in 2013 from a small Kentucky institution with a bachelor’s degree in special education and middle grade education, Macular, in collaboration with the UK College of Education, began teaching students with moderate and severe disabilities as part of their undergraduate degrees. Received a certification for , But it was not done there. A few years later, he enrolled in the College of Education’s nationally online master’s degree program in special education.
“I wanted to go back to school for my master’s to be a better teacher to my students and eventually seek a position in school leadership,” McCullers said. “When I had the opportunity to do this programme, I could not pass it. I knew I was going to get the best education from the professors in the UK and my programme.”
However, on the night of August 25, 2021, shortly after starting the second year of his bachelor’s program, his life changed in the best, but most unexpected, way.
Her son, Corbyn, was born with Down syndrome, as well as a major heart defect.
“I didn’t know Corbyn had Down syndrome until he was born, despite having had six ultrasounds during my pregnancy,” McCullers said. “Two days after his birth, we also learned that he had a major heart defect that would require open-heart surgery.”
Corbyn’s first few weeks of life were spent in a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), followed by medical appointments several days a week.
“Although nothing has gone as planned, Corbyn is the perfect blessing for us. We’ll make it a million times more for our boy,” McCullers said.
Due to Corbyn’s heart defect, the Maculars had to take a leave of absence from his studies last year. However, with the support of her family – and the flexibility of the online program – she was able to quickly jump back in and complete her thesis this spring.
“I had to learn to manage my time effectively, to maintain a balance between family, work, and school life. I relied on my husband, Brett, and my mom and dad to watch Corbyn to help me through school.” My final semester allows me to dedicate time to complete my thesis. I would not have been able to complete the program reliably without their help,” McCullers said.
The McCullers have only one hope for the future – to become a lawyer. And her experience with her child has made her even more ready to support her students as well.
“My goals and hopes for my future as a special education teacher are to love every student who comes through my door and to equip my students with the knowledge and skills needed to successfully transition into adulthood,” she said. “Corbin has changed the way I look at my job as a parent. As a parent, I have gained so much knowledge of the resources available to Corbyn and other children with disabilities that I was not aware of before. I now want to do a better job of helping other parents secure these resources for their children as well. ,
McCullers is set to graduate Friday with a master’s degree in special education from the UK College of Education’s online program, which is ranked 7th in the country by US News and World Report.
After earning an online degree, she was allowed to live off campus and continue working full time.
“Even though I was participating 100% online, I never felt like I was a lesser part of the class,” she said. “Instead, my professors made sure that I could interact with them and other students in real-time whenever I wanted to give input or ask questions. When collaborative work was done during classes, I always groups and took an active part in the discussions and products we developed together in these courses.”
Maculars credit Amy Spriggs, Ph.D., and Melinda Alt, Ph.D., associate professors in the Department of Early Childhood, Special Education and Counselor Education at the College of Education, for shaping both their undergraduate and graduate experience. .
“The day after Corbyn was born I called to tell them both that I would have to return for the fall semester and finish the program in the spring due to the unforeseen medical hurdles we were going to face with Corbyn. , and I will never forget how he responded to me,” she said. Alt was very excited when I told her that Corbin had Down syndrome. She encouraged me that I was going to be the best lawyer for Corbyn with the knowledge and skills I gained from my profession and studies. Dr. Spriggs encouraged me that Corbyn had given me a new purpose in life. I was the first to walk into both a parent’s and a teacher’s place. She has inspired me to help other parents be advocates for their children.
For more information on the UK College of Education’s Master of Science in Special Education, visit their website.
The UK May 2022 commencement ceremony will take place on Friday, 6 May and Saturday, 7 May at the Arena as Central Bank Centre.
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