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Education Dean at Home in Monticello

Courtesy of Media Services
Dr. Peggy Doss
Katy Murray
Managing Editor  

    Monticello accepted Peggy Doss into its community at only 16 years of age. Since then she has acquired four degrees in education and over 30 years of experience in teaching and administration.

     On July 5, Provost David Ray named Doss as the new dean of the School of Education. The acceptance of this position put Doss directly into the seat of her mentor, Cecil Haywood, the former dean of Education for over 25 years. Upon entering the University of Arkansas at Monticello during what would have been Doss' senior year of high school, Haywood assisted her journey through the education program.

    "Peggy Doss was, and still is, a people-person," Haywood said. "She was a very bright student and she takes her profession very seriously. She was also well-liked by her fellow students and the faculty as well. I think she'll do a fabulous job as dean because she is committed, and she's a realist who has a broad understanding of the education system."

    However, had it not been for UAM and the aid of Haywood, Doss may never have been able to become a teacher in the first place. He accepted her into the program, and, along with his wife, former UAM professor Ann Haywood, he guided her to a graduation after only three and a half years in college. Doss actually began her career by admiring her favorite teachers since elementary school.

   “My parents held teachers in such high esteem,” Doss said. “Several of my teachers made an impression on me; I wanted to be just like my first-grade teacher. She was red-headed and sparky, and I always thought how much fun it would be to become a teacher and work with students.”

    Doss began teaching at Selma Elementary School in 1973 and moved forward, continually gaining experience and more education for herself along the way. Over 10 years later, she accepted her first supervisory position over the gifted and talented program at the Southeast Arkansas Education Cooperative. After being the principal of City Park Elementary in Monticello for eight years, Doss joined the UAM administration in 1995. She served as the director of the K-16 Partnership, director of University Relations, director of Alumni and Development, and, most recently, the vice chancellor for Student Affairs and University Relations.

    “Life brings you a lot of different places. I never dreamed I would be in this position, but all of my previous jobs allowed me to gain experience and more opportunities. They all really help me now in this position,” Doss said.

   When she first came to UAM, Doss said it was the best school around for education thanks to Haywood. Her current project, the Education Renewal Zone, acts as one of the first steps to better connect UAM with the Southeast Arkansas community by building partnerships with the public schools and the Southeast Arkansas Cooperative.

   “I think that we are on that road to having the best education department around. Building a solid foundation is very important and also listening to the students. That’s what teachers are supposed to do; listen and advise but never destroy anyone’s dreams,” Doss said. “The one thing I want each student to understand is that they are professionals and have a huge impact on students. There are so many characteristics of a good teacher like being a people-person, being patient, and, of course, knowing your content. This is a wonderful and honorable profession to be in.”

   Along with her work of creating successful teachers, Doss must also balance a personal life. Most days, she works up to 12 hours between her time on campus and, after dinner, from her computer at home. She plans to start finding a happy median between her new job as the dean and her home life by continuing her favorite pastimes though. She loves to play tennis, decorate and do yard-work like landscaping in her spare time. She wanted to be a veterinarian as a small child and, while she has found her true calling in life since then, still carries that love for animals with her. She and her husband, Auddy, have inherited two dogs from their two daughters and spend a great deal of time with them and their 5-year-old granddaughter, Jordyn.

     “This job has been a real challenge, but I’m happy, and I feel very energized. When you love your work, it’s not work anymore. As long as the university feels I do a good job, and as long as I think I’m making a difference, then this is it for me. I only hope that I can do as much for the school of education as Dr. Haywood did; he’s a true role model. Being in his former position has truly brought me full circle,” Doss said.

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© The Voice 2005
09/17/2007 02:14:29 PM
— http://www.uamont.edu/Organizations/TheVoice/3_3/doss.html