By Jordan Kwarcinski

Morningside University warmly welcomes Dr. Rochelle Maynard, our new assistant professor and department head of the Sharon Walker School of Education, who brings with her a rich background as a principal and a deep-seated passion for preparing future educators. Dr. Maynard’s firsthand experience managing frontline educational challenges has honed her commitment to equipping pre-service teachers for the evolving educational landscape.

“Things have changed drastically. With students, with the learning gap, with parents. Teachers have a lot on their plates,” stated Dr. Maynard.

As the former principal for the Maple Valley – Anthon Oto school district, Dr. Maynard skillfully balanced administrative duties with a servant-leader role towards teachers, staff, and students. Her adeptness at overcoming challenges birthed a desire for a new, growth-oriented opportunity that ultimately led her to Morningside.

Joining Morningside as a full-time professor this year, Dr. Maynard views her transition as transformative. Having earned her doctorate from Ball State University, she always envisioned a future in higher education, and she takes pleasure in forging strong bonds with her colleagues. Dr. Maynard said, “Building relationships is really important. When you’re in education, relationships are the cornerstone of absolutely everything.”

Dr. Maynard’s doctoral research focused on teacher retention rates, thus placing her in a unique position to address the changing realities of the classroom. As more students arrive at school unprepared, and classroom sizes grow, she emphasizes the need for teachers to be better compensated and respected for their pivotal role in shaping the future.

In the face of high teacher attrition rates in the U.S., largely due to the many stressors surrounding the education field, Dr. Maynard remains steadfast in her mission to improve the field of education. She anticipates that the post-pandemic economy will exacerbate attrition rates as people can afford to switch careers, and she speaks very matter-of-factly about how she would like to see that issue remedied.

“Teachers need to be paid more. There is a level of respect for teachers that is lacking, and that is reflected in the pay. These are the people responsible for educating the leaders and workforce of the future,” posited Maynard.

Driven by a desire to be part of the solution, Dr. Maynard chose Morningside to influence change from within, particularly through teacher preparation programs. In her classes, she models effective teaching strategies, encouraging student engagement, collaboration, and relationship building. She is confident in her ability to meet these challenges, committed to keeping great pre-service teachers in education, and optimistic about the road ahead.

“I came to Morningside because it is an opportunity to be on the front-end of helping prepare teachers for all the realities of this job. I want to have an impact on preparation so we can hopefully help keep those fantastic teachers in education for many years to come.”

Jordan Kwarcinski is a junior English and graphic design major.