Sibling bonds: McPhees continue a family legacy together through Trevecca’s 2021 Ed.D. class

This spring, we’re highlighting a few candidates for our Ed.D. in leadership and professional practice at Trevecca who have a unique connection that’s added to their fulfillment as they’ve earned an advanced degree: they’ve been sharing their daily trials, challenges and successes with a brother or sister (or even multiple siblings) who’ll graduate alongside them.

A spirit of lifelong learning is in the blood of Sidney-Anthony and Seneca McPhee. The offspring of two educators, they’re each pursuing careers in higher education themselves.  As it happens, they’re both advancing their careers together with the Doctor of Education in leadership and professional practice from Trevecca, although learning alongside one another wasn’t something they had planned in advance.

“Seneca made the decision to attend first, and it was later when I decided it was time to go back to school for my degree,” Sidney-Anthony said. 

Three years apart in school, big brother Sidney-Anthony and younger sister Seneca hadn’t attended the same school at the same time since their high school days at Ridgeway in Memphis. They’d gone to different universities for undergraduate degrees, and although both eventually earned a master’s degree from MTSU, those tenures didn’t overlap.

Their respective decisions to attend Trevecca may have been made independently too, but there were advantages at Trevecca that both siblings found especially appealing.

“I’d heard positive things about the Leadership and Professional Practice Program at Trevecca from friends and colleagues, and I especially liked that it was accelerated and offered face-to-face classes that I could complete in 27 months,“ Seneca said. 

“I also chose Trevecca because of the program being accelerated,” Sidney-Anthony said, “and because they offered the cohort model.”

Once both were enrolled in the doctorate program as part of the same cohort, each began to understand what was unique about having a sibling along on the same journey.

“Having my brother next to me in every class made this process a lot more fun and exciting,” Seneca said. “I also appreciated that we could share knowledge and study techniques with each other, especially in our statistics course.” 

Sidney-Anthony agrees the family dynamic was a perk. “Working through the program with my sister has been special,” he said. “It adds a bit of competition, but there’s extra support that comes along with it as well. And we were able to hold each other accountable.”

The pair work for different institutions of higher education in the Nashville area; Sidney-Anthony as interim assistant vice president of student success at Motlow State, and Seneca as an activity director and first-generation specialist at Tennessee State. Both of their roles involve helping college students get where they want to be, and both siblings plan to keep growing as servant leaders.

“We both are passionate about higher education and once we set a goal we give 100% in completing the task to the very best of our abilities,” Seneca said. “We both have worked hard to make an impact at our institutions, so it means a lot to achieve this goal together.”

They’ve also succeeded in carrying forward a strong family tradition.


Media Contact: Brian Bennett, bwbennett2@trevecca.edu