Graduate Alumna Focus | Linda Chambers, DOL

Linda J. Chambers

Linda Chambers earned her doctorate of organizational leadership (DOL) from Hood College in May 2019. She was awarded the first ever Hood Outstanding Dissertation award this spring. 

Linda Chambers, Doctorate of Organizational Leadership,'19

Program

  • Organizational Leadership (DOL)

Department

  • Education

"The scholarship practice and transformational community vision of the DOL program has made me a better leader, with national and international network connections that I never would have made without it."

Please tell us about your educational and career background.

I was born and raised locally in Myersville, Maryland.  I am an alum of Frederick County Public Schools.  Leadership seems to have been in my blood for quite some time as my siblings remind me whenever they can that I was always really bossy growing up.  In the same breath, however, they highlight my passion for helping others.  Servant leadership became my leadership style early on. 

I attended James Madison University where I met my husband.  I earned a Bachelors of Arts and Masters of Special Education from JMU.  I completed a Masters of Educational Leadership and my Doctorate in Organizational Leadership at Hood College. 

After college, my husband and I chose to stay in Frederick and I worked to transform the community through my career experiences in Frederick County Public Schools for 25 more years as a special educator, teacher leader, teacher specialist for professional development, and other administrative roles, including my current position as a Director of Special Education for FCPS. 

My hearts’ joy is my work with building the leadership capacity in others; so being an adjunct professor in the Hood graduate leadership program for the past 6 years has been an honor.

You're a Double Blazer, having earned both a masters and doctorate from Hood. What made you originally choose Hood College Graduate School for both degrees?

My mom is a Hood College ‘62 graduate, Patricia Gorman. She and my Dad are my very first examples of leadership and “education seekers”, and let me tell you, they continue to be my best leadership mentors to this day. 

Many Hood leaders have molded me over the years, but Roger Stenerson, the former Program Director of the Educational Leadership program, is an individual who I admire greatly. His leadership was a key attractant that drew me to the Masters in Educational Leadership.

My life plan had included seeking a doctorate, but at that time, there was not one available that was convenient or local.  When I learned of the Hood Doctoral program, it was a no brainer for me; I reached out immediately to Dr. Kathleen Bands to schedule a time to discuss it. 

A blizzard cancelled our meeting, but my application was submitted and thankfully, I was accepted to the Hood Inaugural Doctoral program of Organizational Leadership. 

So, Hood is my place to learn and grow, and it runs in the family.  My mom gifted me her 1962 Hood pinky ring once my doctorate was conferred and I had 2019 engraved on it.  I wear it each and every day to remind me of the great honor I have to serve and transform the community as a scholarly practitioner.

How have your Hood College graduate degrees helped further your career and/or your life?

The Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership propelled me from the role of teacher to the role of administrator in the school system.  Then almost a decade later, I scheduled a time to chat with Dr. Stenerson to share my interest in teaching at Hood and my adjunct experience started.

During my doctoral program, I was promoted to Director of Special Education.  Honestly, the degrees helped me to find myself; the scholarly practice and the transformational community vision of the DOL program has made me a better leader, with national and international network connections that I never would have made without it. 

Presenting my research at a national conference opened even more doors.  The possibilities as I continue to learn and grow are endless.

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

The best part of Hood College is not the buildings, or resources, or the refectory; those are great, but the amazing people are what defines Hood. 

All of the staff, alumni, students and, most fondly for me, my inaugural cohort family.  We began a mighty group of 18 and we continue to be lifelong friends. 

My favorite memory, hands down, is each and every Saturday, year-round for three years, seeing the faces of those amazing people.  The walks to, and the breakfast bacon and soft serve ice cream at, the refectory in Coblentz were a perk as well.

My dissertation focused on dismantling the preschool-to-prison pipeline for Black/African Americans. 

I studied the impact of implicit bias in vulnerable decision making such as discipline and special education referral at the primary grades. I presented my research at the national conference of Council of Special Education Administrators (CASE) in Biloxi, Mississippi in 2018. 

I continue the journey in my research now and moving forward, as it is significantly timely with regard to the recent and long-standing social injustice and racism we are experiencing.

You were awarded the first ever Hood Outstanding Dissertation award this spring. What impact did this have on you?

I am humbled and often speechless about being awarded the first ever Hood Outstanding Dissertation award this spring. 

Being a member of such an amazing cohort of professionals whose research we lived together; I can confidently say the award belongs to each and every inaugural doctoral cohort member.

I am eternally grateful to alumni like Manuel A. Casiano, M.D for donating their time and money to continue these awards.  I am excited to be the first of a long line of Hood College Outstanding Dissertation award winners and hope to give back in the same way moving forward.

Inspired by Linda's story to #GOFURTHER  in your educational & career pursuits? Learn more about Hood College’s Doctorate of Organizational Leadership by clicking here.