O’FALLON – It isn’t just the students at O’Fallon High School that are earning their education. Assistant Superintendent Martha Weld is now Doctor Martha Weld after earning her doctorate in Educational Leadership from St. Louis University.
Now that she’s completed over four years of work, Weld says the reality of it being over hasn’t quite settled in yet.
“I don’t think the reality that it’s finished has really settled in. It was an incredibly rewarding experience to defend my dissertation because the professors that I was presenting to were very interested in my topic. We had a lot of discussion throughout and the presentation was extended because of their interest and the guidance they gave me. I was also able to speak about OTHS, which I’m very proud of. So to be able to talk about all of my colleagues and all they give to make OTHS so great was very rewarding,” said Weld.
Weld’s dissertation dealt with the subject of a grit mindset and intrinsic motivation and the interaction of those non-cognitive skills in secondary educators to influence students positively.
“If you were to think of a growth mindset and an intrinsic motivation, do the teachers that have high levels of those attributes work harder to make sure their students are actively learning and are engaged and profiting from their education? Essentially, the non-cognitive skills that contribute to teachers being exemplary for students,” Weld explained.
When asked why she decided to pursue her doctorate, Weld said she had a lot of motivating factors.
“I’m at OTHS and the standard is that if you are going to be a leader, I feel you should be an expert in your field in order to honor everyone else that works here and the standard they always strive for. I felt I owed it to my school district. I also felt I owed it to my family because of the standard they set. They always say to give your absolute best,” she said.
Ultimately though, Weld said she wanted to obtain her doctorate for herself.
“And I wanted it for myself. I think if you ask Sir Edmund Hillary why he climbed Mount Everest, he would say it was there. And when I think of why I obtained my PhD, its because it was there and it was something I hadn’t yet obtained or accomplished yet,” Weld said.
Weld was bestowed the designation of having passed with distinction, which is the highest honor in the PhD process.