Dr. Shonna Crawford: Assistant professor of education
March 3, 2012
Shonna Crawford has always loved school, and it shows. Between graduating from Evangel in 2000 and returning as an assistant professor of education in 2011, Crawford spent time teaching elementary school, received her Master in Reading degree and worked for the Missouri Reading Initiative. While teaching in Oklahoma, Crawford was a finalist for Teacher of the Year and was also named “Teacher of Today” by the Masonic Lodge. She has presented at several regional conferences, including events for the International Reading Association and The Primary Conference.
Family holds a very special place in Crawford’s heart. She and her husband, Michael, met while attending Evangel, and they have two children, Gavin and Aubree. Her hobbies include reading, running, going on family vacations and watching her kids’ activities.
You met your husband while attending Evangel. Could you tell me a little bit about how you met?
I met my husband at a Brother/Sister Floor activity. It was at Lighthouse Lanes. We were glow bowling. Now, I think that’s so hilarious because we are not bowling pros. At Evangel we had the same group of friends, so we were always together, right from the beginning of our freshman year.
What activities were you involved in while attending Evangel, and how did they help prepare you for life after college?
As a student at Evangel, my main activity was working as a youth leader with Michael at Park Crest Assembly of God. The youth group was called The Fish and one of the “kids” in the group was EU Admissions Counselor Nate Griepp. We spent a lot of our time with our small groups and helping with activities. We also helped lead a missions trip to Hammond, Indiana. I played softball my freshman year, and that was a great experience. I learned so much from Coach Breaux and had fun traveling with the girls. I also took some leadership roles on the floors I lived on.
What inspired you to pursue a career in education?
It was a conversation I had with my father-in-law while he was working in the breezeway at the front of the Chapel on faculty/staff work day. It was just before I started my sophomore year. After spending part of my summer working as a counselor at Pine Cover Christian Camps, I was feeling God calling me to be a teacher. After that conversation I changed my major to Elementary Education. I’ve always loved school and I loved working with elementary age kids, so I knew that I would love working in schools.
What is it like coming back to Evangel as a professor instead of a student?
It’s fantastic. I love being back here at Evangel. It’s really made me reminisce about my experiences as a student. It’s also very humbling because I know how much I looked up to my professors (and still do), so I put a lot of pressure on myself to live up to them and to be a blessing to my students.
You are currently working toward obtaining your Ph. D. in Literacy. Can you tell me a little bit about this experience?
I am working on my Ph.D. at Mizzou and I love it. I’m almost to the half-way point. It’s been a wonderful experience and has broadened my knowledge and provided awesome opportunities for me to learn from people all over the world. I am the first student in the Learning, Teaching, and Curriculum College to travel from three hours away on a weekly basis. My adviser is amazing and supportive as I attempt something that has never been done before. She is always reminding me that I am their “pioneer” distance-learning student. Currently I am most interested in Critical Literacy in Early Childhood and Language in Society as it relates to literacy. These are the emphasis areas within my program of study. Being a student and a professor at the same time is a challenge, but I think it helps me to relate to what my students are going through.
What is your favorite part about teaching here at Evangel?
The students. I absolutely love the dreams and goals God has given students here at Evangel. It’s very exciting to be even a small part of preparing them to pursue God’s plan for their lives.
What advice do you have for prospective students, especially those considering a career in education?
First, the best advice I can give is to listen to God and follow the calling He has for you. God has a plan beyond all you could ask or imagine. Listen for His call and wait on Him. He will provide, He will give wisdom and He will guide. Second, if you feel called to education, get as much experience interacting with kids as you possibly can; work at a day care, babysit, volunteer at school, at church, at camps … anywhere you can. The more you know about how to work with kids and build relationships with kids, the better prepared you will be for any position in the field of education.