Daisy Linville's summer job is tough to beat. Her full-time gig is pretty solid, too.
Linville, an eighth-grade English teacher at Spencer School District in Spencer, Wisconsin, started a business giving guided kayak tours of the cliffs and caves of Madeline Island on Lake Superior in 2017.
"I've been kayaking for about five years," she said. "Running my business takes up all of my free time. I decided to open my business halfway through a master's degree program, which was extremely challenging."
Wait, what was that? Yep, Linville opened Holy Spirit Bay Kayak Company while raising two sons -- Vincent (12) and Max (8) -- as a single mother and earning a Master of Science in Education -- Educational Administration with a Director of Instruction Track from UW-Superior's online program. She graduated in May 2018.
"I could see that my personal teaching style was in need of the freedom to design and implement innovative curriculum," she said. "I didn't always have the time or resources to do what I wanted with curriculum, but becoming a Director of Instruction will help me bring to life everything I've ever dreamed about doing for teachers and students."
With the MSE -- Educational Administration Director of Instruction Track, Linville has her career kayak aimed toward the curriculum director waters.
"I'm very good at creating change, doing fun, outside-of-the-box things and being a leader, so I decided to get my master's in curriculum and instruction to have the freedom to choose curriculum and help find cutting-edge things for school districts and classrooms," she said. "I'm passionate about that."
Linville, who grew up in Marshfield, Wisconsin, knew from an early age she wanted to be a teacher because she enjoys working with kids. Prior to her current position, she taught fifth grade for four years.
Linville graduated with a bachelor's degree in elementary education from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point in 2010. Even as an online student, she considered location a big factor in her decision to enroll at UW-Superior.
"Lake Superior is really important to me," she said. "I wanted to be able to meet people from the area and professors from the area in hopes that maybe we could form meaningful relationships with each other as educators. Maybe I could even meet some of my future colleagues. UW-Superior is in an area of the state that I'm really in love with because of the lake."
Another key reason was the fully online format that allowed Linville much-needed flexibility with a hectic schedule. She spent an average of 10-15 hours a week on school.
"It was definitely hard work," she said. "It was intense, but it was manageable because it cut out driving time to the university. It was good for me because I live in a rural area, away from bigger universities. It saved two hours of driving time a day or two hours twice a week."
Linville hopes that sharing the experience of her time in the online MSE program might guide her sons and her students to higher education.
"My kids could definitely see that mom has to study again or mom has to write a paper," she said. "I would also often use examples of my writing for my master's program in my eighth-grade English class. I'd tell them, 'Hey, guys, look what I had to write last night.' I'd show them my references page and the format."
Although Linville enjoyed all of the master's degree curriculum, two of the core courses in the program stood out.
"I liked [EDAD 728:] Diversity and Social Justice because cultural diversity is a topic I'm pretty passionate about," she said. "I also liked [EDAD 710:] Supervision of Instruction because it helped me learn how I can help support teachers in their instructional efforts."
The first time Linville stepped foot on the UW-Superior campus was on graduation day. She believes the master's degree will open up numerous career opportunities when the time is right.
"Actually, it already has opened up some opportunities," she said. "If I were willing to move across the state to take a job, I'm sure I could have landed something by now. My kids are really rooted in Central Wisconsin with our family and our friends. I don't have the freedom to apply in my field all over the state, so my districts are limited. My degree is specific to larger school districts."
Now that Linville holds a master's degree and owns a sweet summer business, she looks forward to raising her sons, teaching middle school students, and kayaking Lake Superior in the summer.
"If you're passionate about becoming an administrator, and you're not just in it for higher pay, I would definitely go into this program," she said. "You're cut out to be an administrator in a public school if you're dedicated to the long haul and to excellence in education and students. If you are serious about it, this degree program is an excellent way to get into the field in 18 months."
And when Linville lands that first curriculum director position, she knows she has a Superior education at her disposal.
"For me, becoming a curriculum director involves asking, 'What kind of educational experience would I want my own children to have?'" she said. "I sometimes hear my boys complain about their classroom experience and how routine it can be. I can see the monotony of their school days.
"They wake up at 6:30 a.m. to be in a desk by 8 a.m., they often sit at desk up to 6 hours a day. In some schools, students only get gym class every other day. My own kids would love gym, music, art, languages, and STEM, among other topics each day, and I would love for them to be having those enriching, creative, and nurturing experiences frequently as well. I'm really looking forward to transforming the districts where I work, into a place that's fun, where kids want to be and learn at the same time."
Perhaps a "What I Did Over Summer Vacation" writing assignment would be a great place to start.
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