Featuring Hood Graduate Alumna | Julie Ivins, M.S. Reading Specialization, 2011

Hood Graduate Alumna: Julie Ivins, M.S. Reading Specialization, 2011

This interview highlights Hood Graduate Alumna, Julie Ivins, who graduated with an M.S. in Reading Specialization in 2011 and has since been working as a Literary Specialist at North Frederick Elementary School.

Julie Ivins

Graduation Year



  • Reading Specialization (M.S.)


  • Education




Reading Specialization

Can you provide a quick bio? Any general background that you would like to share, as well as your educational and career background.

After graduating from Hood College with my degree in Early Childhood Education in December 2005, I began working as a teacher for Frederick County Public Schools.  I have worked in five different school buildings, under 9 different administrators and I have taught First Grade, Second Grade, Third Grade, Reading Intervention, and S.T.E.M.  In 2011, I graduated from Hood College Graduate School with a Master’s Degree in Reading Specialization.  Since that time I have served as the literacy specialist in two buildings, the last 3 years being spent at North Frederick Elementary School. 

I live just 1 mile from my current school, right near Hood College, with my husband, Andy, our 4 year old daughter; Finley, our 2 year old son; Kellen, and my newborn 4 month old daughter; Darrah.  We love spending time together, eating great food, and being outdoors. I spend my free time (who am I kidding, I have 3 kids, 4 and under and a career!!) reading or being with my family who lives nearby. I have a brother, Michael, who manages a local bank and two sisters: Lindsey, who teaches third grade for FCPS and Melanie, who works in the science field, both of which are also Hood Undergraduate and Graduate School Alums.

Why did you choose Hood College Graduate School?

When you become a teacher, you commit to being a life-long learner.  I began my teaching career and I quickly realized how inept I was as a teacher of reading.  I knew that I needed to grow professionally in this area. Hood College Graduate School seemed like a natural fit.  I knew they had a highly-regarded Reading Specialization Master’s Degree program and their graduate school offered a partnership with the school system to help defray the cost of tuition.  Being a graduate of their undergraduate program, there was no question that I would get what I needed to advance my education and career from Hood College.

How has your Hood College graduate degree helped further your career and/or your life?

After completing my Reading Specialization Master’s Degree from Hood College, I moved out of the classroom and into a specialist role.  I now work as a literacy specialist where I focus my time on not only teaching reading, but also coaching teachers, providing professional development, rolling out systemic initiatives, writing curriculum and so much more.  This degree has helped me to open my thinking to the bigger picture in a school system, beyond my classroom walls.  I’m currently seeking certification in administration and a new role, which would not have been possible without the opportunities I gained from attaining my graduate degree from Hood College. 

What did you enjoy about Hood College? Do you have a favorite memory?

The thing I enjoy the most about Hood College is that it has always felt like home.  Having completed my undergraduate work at Hood as well, when I enrolled in the Graduate School, I couldn’t help but feel like I was returning back to somewhere that I was so comfortable.  My favorite memory, was the rotating art displays in Tatum Hall.  Since the majority of education classes were housed there, I’d look forward to the new artists being showcased regularly.  When I was an undergraduate I can honestly say I didn’t appreciate the work the same way I did as a graduate student.  When you discover yourself as an adult (not a wandering college student) you learn to really value the passion of others… Even though I’m not an artist, I can relate to their passion, because I discovered my own in Education.

Is there any other information or fun facts you would like to add?

As a graduate student, I participated in Reading Clinic as a final practicum for my specialist degree.  I can remember enjoying the work so much.  Being a literacy specialist now, I can see just how valuable that program is.  Not only because it’s training future literacy specialists, but also for the students in Frederick County Public Schools.  Over the years, I have sent many children that way for extra summer support.  I know they are receiving such targeted high quality instruction, and it makes me so proud!

Fun fact:  I went on a 2 week Art History tour in Italy with Hood College, following the works of Dante and Giotto.  It was quite possibly my favorite time of my life (aside from having my beautiful babies!).  I met awesome people, ate great food and looked at lots of stone wall paintings!!  I highly recommend traveling with Hood for anyone who has the opportunity!

Ready to further YOUR education? Learn more about Hood's Graduate School and the M.S. in Reading Specialization program by clicking here!

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