Dr. Bradley J. Kolwyck
May 06, 2020
Dr. Bradley J. Kolwyck
My name is Bradley J. Kolwyck and I am the principal at Macks Creek High School in Missouri. I am married to my beautiful wife of 15 years, Julie Kolwyck and we have two children, Parker and Sadie Jane. I have been in education for 12 years, seven of them in administration.
I completed my B.S. at Southeast Missouri State University in 2004 and a M.Ed. at Arkansas State University in 2012. Now, I am excited to graduate from Southern Illinois University with a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Education Administration. The most important life lessons I learned during my time at SIU working on this degree are simple. I learned the most about myself and my beliefs, but beyond that I learned stay the course, trust in your advisor, and never give up. In addition to building character, this process forces you to always focus on the long-term goal and not short-term trials. After graduation, I will return to my daily life in the world of K-12 education as a principal with future plans to be a public-school superintendent. Now that I have my “life back,” I plan to spend more time with family and return to my personal hobbies (hunting and fishing).
My advice for future doctoral students is to set long-term goals, make a plan to achieve them and stay the course in following the plan. I advise that all doctoral students keep a personal journal to help with the dissertation process at the end of this trying journey. Learn to listen more and talk less when meeting with your advisor, professor, chairperson or dean. Future students need to make peace with the fact that life will be different and challenging while in the program and process of completing the degree requirements. Finally, take the advice of those who have completed the process before you and know that most advice comes from reflecting on personal mistakes during the process.
In conclusion, the completion of this journey would have never been possible with the support of my “village.” I am forever grateful for my wife who has been my rock from day one. This journey is very time consuming and forced me to make many tough decisions about family time. I am indebted to her for understanding the time it takes to complete this process and that she was a “single mom” most weeknights and weekends throughout. She has been by my side to encourage and push me when I did not think I could keep going. The completion of this degree is for her.
My parents taught me to dream, but not just dream, dream big. They taught me to make a plan to achieve those dreams and follow it no matter what. They taught me to never give up or deviate from the plan even when life gets in the way. My parents prepared me for the challenges this journey presented. It is because of them that I had the courage to go after this dream in the midst of beginning a new position in my career that added stress and time outside the home.
My mother-in-law has been a very big influence in my life. She was my kindergarten teacher and helped me build the foundation of my love for learning. Fast forward 20 years and now she is my mother-in-law, but the positive influence she brings to my life has never changed. She has been a huge support system for my entire family, but especially my wife who was burdened with the responsibility of raising our children “alone” for the past five years.
Finally, a very special thank you to Dr. Judith Green. Dr. Green has been my mentor since the first day I stepped on the campus of Southern Illinois University. She has been a great listener, counselor, and spiritual guide during the highest of highs and the lowest of lows in this journey. I am forever indebted to her for always keeping me grounded when I did not think this day would ever come. Thank you for all of your support! I must also give a final thank you and acknowledgement to my entire dissertation committee, without them the final phase would not be possible. Thank you to Dr. Saran Donahoo, Dr. Patrick Dilley, Dr. John Dively, and Dr. Brent Clark.