Trevecca Nazarene University

Finding my career path at Trevecca

(Written by Ryan Longnecker - originally published in City Educators magazine)

My desire to become an instructional leader was a direct outcome of my experiences at Trevecca. As I listened to professors who were administrators themselves, I saw how they helped teachers, and how in turn those educators were able to positively affect the lives and learning of students, be they children, teenagers, or adults. That realization made me want to be an educational leader, and Trevecca equipped me for that new role. I enrolled in Trevecca’s Graduate Education Program early in my career in education. I had my undergraduate degree, but I knew that I would need a graduate degree to learn how to become a better instructor and to make the most impact in my classroom. I chose Trevecca because I had started my college education “on the Hill” and had met many of the professors. I respected what they did and the spirit that “is Trevecca.”

My graduate training at Trevecca gave me much more than I originally expected. First, sitting under the instruction of persons who are practitioners in education gave me new insights into the field as a career and about the possibilities involved. Listening to my instructor-principals convinced me that administrators can affect the lives of more children and helped me make a major career decision. Second, being part of a cohort with persons from many different career paths in education was a learning opportunity in itself. In my cohort were teachers from many different disciplines, educational administrators of every level, and persons in other professions. I listened to them as they took what we were learning and applied that information to their specialized areas. They helped me see leadership from so many different angles, and they helped me come to the realization that no one can lead alone. They helped me develop my own approach of “shared leadership,” where the sum of the parts is so much greater than the whole, which I will use as a principal.

I am so grateful for everything Trevecca taught me and for the significant relationships that I formed during my education classes there. Now, as a principal, I face leadership issues for which Trevecca had already prepared me; my professors introduced me to those issues and asked me to create appropriate and effective strategies and responses. Daily I am aware that the thinking I was asked to do at Trevecca informs my approach to the difficult choices I must make.

The work I did at Trevecca, the relationships I formed there, and the challenges I faced there prepared me to take steps in my career that I would never have thought possible. And, quite frankly, most of the other people who knew me would not have thought those steps were possible for me, but Trevecca helped me accomplish much more than I at first dreamed was possible for me.

For all of the reasons above, I recommended Trevecca to my parents when they decided to complete their master’s or doctoral degrees. And if you would ask me, I would tell you that you will forever be changed by the growth that you can attain at Trevecca and highly recommend it.

*Ryan Longnecker is the principal of Harpeth High School in Kingston Springs, Tennessee. He previously served as dean of students at Apollo Middle School, and for five years he taught at Thurgood Marshall Middle School. He earned the MAT from Trevecca in 2010 and the EdD in 2013. His parents will complete their master’s degrees in December of 2013: his mother in ELL Education and his father an MAT.

  • Coursework takes 15 months
  • 30 credit hours
  • Prepares students for the School Leader Licensure Assessment (SLLA)
  • 95% SLLA first time pass rate
  • Financial aid is available

Contact Lewis Bridges for information at 615-248-1589 or