Always Improving: UWG COE Doctoral Student Named Leadership Scholar

Julie Lineback

Thursday, April 26th, 2018

The pursuit of academic excellence should be one that never ends.

This staunch belief is one that University of West Georgia doctoral student and Calhoun Middle School teacher Justin Lindsey exemplifies daily.

“I try my best to practice what I preach when learning outside of the classroom,” said Lindsey, who is enrolled in UWG College of Education’s Ed.D. in school improvement program. “Leaders should identify areas of self-improvement, which in turn will help discover areas within our school or community that need improvement.”

As a testament to his inspiring outlook, Lindsey was recently named a 2018 Dennis R. Washington Leadership Scholar. Funded by the Phyllis and Dennis R. Washington Foundation, the program has awarded more than $5 million to Horatio Alger Alumni Scholars pursuing master’s or doctoral degrees in the fields of business, education, engineering, medicine and applied sciences.

The award is highly competitive — Lindsey is one of only seven recipients nationwide and the only education representative.

Lindsey explained the multi-day interview process, where candidates were invited to San Diego and engaged in individual and team-oriented problem solving interview sessions. These sessions were held in front of a group of panelists, who ranged from Washington scholars, field professionals, and foundation and association representatives.

“Having the opportunity to communicate and engage with such an inspiring group of scholars and panel members was an eye-opening experience, which is humbling and motivational at the same time,” he recalled. “Each person I encountered taught me something about life. With people like this in important places, our future as a nation is bright.”

Lindsey said he believes the most effective communication is honest communication, and he was determined to speak truthfully about the field of education within society.

“My goal as an educator and scholar is to positively impact as many students as I can,” he shared. “The ability to convey my desire for improved educational opportunities for all students of all backgrounds helped me throughout the process.”

The COE’s Ed.D. in school improvement program also gets credit from Lindsey in preparing him for the pursuit of scholarship and future endeavors. He shared the program completely changed his perspective on the possibilities in education, which in turn made him more confident about the future.

“Education — especially public education — is the gateway of opportunity for the American dream,” he concluded. “The high expectations set forth by excellent professors allow us to push ourselves to new levels. We must continuously seek to improve education by first improving ourselves.”