Graduate Alum Focus | William "Buddy" Houston

William "Buddy" Houston

Hood graduate alumn, William "Buddy" Houston, earned his Master's in Mathematics Education in 2016. In 2019, he retired from the Army after a career spanning 37 years, and returned to the classroom where he has been teaching at Butterfly Ridge Elementary School. In 2020, he was awarded the U.S. Army Legion of Merit.

William "Buddy" Houston

Graduation Year

2016

Program

  • Mathematics Education (M.S.)

Department

  • Education
  • Mathematics

"Even though I attended class in uniform, I was always treated equally to my civilian peers.  Sharing my graduation with my children, enabling me to model the importance of continued education to them, was my proudest Hood moment."

Please tell us about your educational and career background.

Growing up in poverty with a lot of trauma, I had two groups of people who served as role models and mentors, helping to guide me in making good choices and believe I could achieve: my teachers and police officers.

Often as a child, I was told that I did not have to worry about going to college or that I would repeat and stay in the lifestyle from which I was raised.  I knew better and believed I would break the cycle of poverty -  if not for me, then for my kids.

I made a commitment to give back the gift I was given by becoming either a police officer or a teacher.  The collegiate path I traveled was bumpy at first, taking longer than expected to earn my Associates of Arts Degree. When I stepped foot onto the campus of the University of Maryland - College Park, however, I was focused and achieved unimaginable successes.

My soon to be wife, a Hood alumna and educator, persuaded me to become a teacher after earning my BS in Elementary Education in 1996.  After four years teaching in Title 1 schools in Montgomery County, I left teaching to seek an opportunity to go on Active Duty with the Army National Guard.

Later, to prepare for my military retirement, I sought my MS in Secondary Mathematics at Hood.  Hood reinvigorated me as an educator via incredible instruction and networking opportunities with other educators.

In May 2016, I graduated from Hood with my wife and kids in the audience.  It was enjoyable having my children witness the pomp and circumstance of a college graduation.

In September 2019, I retired from the Army after a career spanning 37 years, and returned to the classroom.  The transition back to teaching has been an incredible and humbling journey, but the desire to give back gives me the drive to succeed as an educator as I’ve continued my career at Butterfly Ridge Elementary School.

Why did you choose Hood College Graduate School?

Choosing Hood College was easy.  My wife, who earned her undergrad and graduate degrees from Hood College is, in my opinion, a rock star in education!  Her success made me confident that attending Hood would prepare me to return to the classroom.

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

Although my goal is to remain a classroom teacher, earning my graduate degree from Hood has given me the credentials required to expand upon that experience.

In addition to classroom instruction, I could also become a curriculum specialist or developer. Moreover, having my master's of science degree demonstrates that I have successfully completed a rigorous professional development program, increasing my value and marketability.

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

I was always excited to attend my classes at Hood.  It was enjoyable collaborating with educators and being challenged intellectually. 

Even though I attended class in uniform, I was always treated equally to my civilian peers.  Sharing my graduation with my children, enabling me to model the importance of continued education to them, was my proudest Hood moment.

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

I feel blessed to have been able to raise my children with an incredibly supportive wife, propelling them further than I could have ever imagined. 

This past academic year, though challenging due to COVID-19, has remained enjoyable as I’ve developed relationships with my students and hopefully inspired them.  On March 14, 2020, in a private ceremony attended by my family and my three teammates from school, I was awarded the U.S. Army Legion of Merit.

Inspired by Buddy's story and ready to #GOFURTHER in your education and career? Learn more about Hood's Mathematics Education Master's program by clicking here.