Monday, December 23, 2013

You’re never too old to live out your dreams

MaryAnn Gardner is proof that you’re never too old to fulfill new dreams.

MaryAnn, who’s now 61, always wanted to teach at the university level. But, she knew in order to accomplish that she needed her master’s degree in education. So, she enrolled in Post University’s Master of Education program, and in May 2011, she received her degree and put it to quick work.


By August of the same year, MaryAnn was hired by a Connecticut college as an associate faculty member. MaryAnn’s dreams were being realized. She now teaches human services and psychology courses.

“Without my master’s degree I couldn’t teach at the higher university level,” MaryAnn said. “Post University helped fulfill my goals and aspirations.”

MaryAnn, who lives in Darien, said she was further motivated to pursue a university-level teaching appointment after taking courses with the then Dean of the School of Education Jane Bailey, Ed.D. MaryAnn had previously taught in private schools at the K-12 level.

“Dr. Jane Bailey really inspired me to become a teacher,” MaryAnn said. “I am so grateful I went to Post. My passion is teaching.”

She said she does her best to mimic the teaching style of her Post professors.

“Post’s professors are so wonderful. They motivate and encourage the students. You could always reach them and talk with them,” MaryAnn said. “I try to do the same with my students.”

At Post she also learned the importance of diversifying her teaching style, and not simply lecturing students. She observed that students learn in so many different ways.

“At Post I learned how to make strong connections with my students and to foster an atmosphere of creativity and engagement,” MaryAnn said.

She still communicates with her Post professors even though she graduated several years ago.

“You’re not just a number at Post University,” MaryAnn said. “You’re valued as a person and a professional.”

Post’s education also helped her with understanding the role technology plays in the classroom . Through the online courses she took at Post, she learned the value of having access to content via video, Powerpoint presentations, and other multi-media tools. She now uses those same technologies to educate her students.

“MaryAnn is truly an inspiration and a shining example of the type of adult learner we have at Post,” said, Jane Bailey, who is now the university’s provost. “As educators, we are truly inspired by our students and their successes.”

MaryAnn previously earned an online master's degree in human services from Post University, and in addition to teaching, she owns and operates Skill Builder LLC. Through Skill Builder, she provides professional development seminars and training in the areas of anger and stress management, trauma, and smoking cessation.

Retirement is nowhere on the horizon for MaryAnn. She said she’s too busy and having way too much fun. And she thanks Post for her recent career opportunities.

“If you really love education, you’ll love Post,” she said.