In Greek folklore, the phoenix always rose from the flames stronger than it was before.
This is a phoenix story.
Delorean Hogan traveled a long, hard road in academics before finding success.
"I struggled in high school, and I struggled in grade school as well," Hogan said. "Due to immature behavior I was kicked out of college my freshman year, and then I transferred to get a new start. I didn't do well at the next university either as my grades started to slip."
Hogan was put on academic probation at that next school, so she decided to transfer to third university, while also taking classes at a community college to get back on track.
"By my junior year I had something wake up in me, and I knew I needed to get it together," she said. "That's also when I decided that I needed to change my major, so I focused on education. I am proud to say that despite going through all those different schools, I still graduated on time — in four years."
Refocusing her attention to education came naturally to Hogan whose educators refused to give up on her when the going got tough.
"Many teachers throughout my life motivated me, stuck by me and believed in me," she said. "I was told by many that I would never amount to anything, and that became my drive to get everything that I wanted. My faith in God and my mother, Melba Hogan, who is a single parent, is what got me through. She is my rock and without her I would not be the woman I am today."
The bachelor's degree in Family & Consumer Sciences was not the end for Hogan. She earned a Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction in 2010 and a Master of Arts in Counseling in 2013, and is now enrolled in St. Thomas University's Doctor of Education in Leadership and Innovation online program with a projected graduation date of May 2021.
Today, Hogan lives in Houston, Texas, and works as a school counselor for a nearby school district and is a coordinator for Lone Star College in its Leadership High School program. On top of all that, she serves as the director of a mentoring program at her church called Fallbrook Dream Girls with over 100 girls in grades 6-12. Hogan has a passion for working with youth and grooming them into future leaders. She is also a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated, where she is dedicated to sisterhood, scholarship and service.
"Here I am, despite what people thought about me and the many hurdles I had jump to get to where I am today, I am soaring and still striving for excellence," she said. "I wanted to go into education to provide the same things that were done for me — someone supporting me, seeing potential in me, redirecting me and showing me that they truly cared. I wanted to be able to provide that to the students that I serve now in hopes I can make a difference like those that did for me."
Leadership as a Service
Hogan has kept her eye on leadership ever since she began her professional career both by taking on leadership roles and paying close attention to the leaders around her.
"I've served in many roles from teacher, to coach, to administrator, to counselor," she said. "If I want to go to the top in my career, it is important to see the right thing to do when you are a leader instead of going into a position with no guidance. I think I would be very conscious of what I do when I become a leader and how I lead."
Even in an online learning environment, Hogan has found inspiration in the leadership displayed by her professors in some of her more difficult classes in the Ed.D. program.
"They show concern, they know our end goal, and they're there to help even when we're not in their classes anymore," she said. "I have one professor who still helps to push me through, and it's Dr. John Honore. He has been one of the hardest teachers in the program thus far, but I understand why he does what he does, which is to help me become a better academic writer and to get me to my end goal — to become Dr. Hogan. My dissertation chair Dr. Katrina Pann also plays a major role in my journey right now and I am grateful for her as well."
It was when Hogan took ELI 813: Leading a Learning Organization that she realized the specific kind of leadership role that fit her perspective, and she is looking forward to putting it into practice as she moves forward in her career in hopes of having a district leadership position.
"I am a servant leader — that is something we learned about in class," she explained. "I'm big on serving, and I put others first. I believe in making sure my team members are comfortable. I don't look at myself as a boss. I'm part of the team. I'm here to help make sure a goal gets achieved. We are one. I'm not above you. I am with you."
A Wealth of Experience
Overcoming obstacles to meet one's goals can lead to becoming wiser from the experience. Hogan decided to write her dissertation on secondary administrator's perceptions of career and technical education, with her choice of topic stemming from her own metamorphosis as a student.
"A lot of kids are stuck on academics and want to just take advanced placement classes," she said. "I tell them to be versatile and take some career and technical education classes too. I took engineering courses in high school, and that showed me that I was not an engineer."
Hogan's experience created her perception of technical education, and it is calling her to question the perceptions of others and the impact of those perceptions on career and technical education programs' success.
"Kids today have an advantage now of taking vet medicine, health science, business management, animation, engineering and computer science classes in high school to help them decide what they ultimately want to do as well as leave high school college and career ready," she said. "I want to know why it is not as successful on some campuses, and I think that starts with the perceptions and embedded beliefs of the people who run the schools."
A coping strategy is important for anyone pursuing an advanced degree, and Hogan's choice is a day to recharge.
"Monday is a rest day," she said. "My job requires me to take in a lot from students, and the things that are going on with them mentally while still juggling my other responsibilities outside of work. It can be rough, so I have to set time aside for me to do absolutely nothing at least one day out of the week."
While time off and tall goals may seem at odds, Hogan feels that the chance to relax, travel and recover helps her get things done.
"As a counselor, I believe in self-care," she said. "You have to secure yourself mentally, physically and spiritually. If you're not doing that, this can take a toll on you."
Even phoenixes need sleep.
Learn more about the St. Thomas University online Ed.D. in Leadership and Innovation program.
Have a question or concern about this article? Please contact us.