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Latonya Dukes would like to teach the world how to learn. The 2015 Ashford University graduate has dedicated much of her life to helping people become more educated, whether that meant tutoring elementary school children or training co-workers in Microsoft Office. Education was her passion, even though it wasn’t her career. But that all changed back in 2012 when Dukes decided to return to school and follow her passion. For her efforts, Dukes has been named Ashford’s Outstanding Alum of the Month.
Three years ago, Dukes was working as a supervisor in a sheriff’s department and had earned a degree in organizational management. Despite her accomplishments, she decided it was time to make some changes and make her passion her profession. She knew her journey started with earning a degree.
“Without my education, I’m not getting everything I need to help others,” she said at Ashford’s 2015 fall commencement ceremony. “In order to be a leader, you need to gain knowledge to help your followers. You need to help them grow until one day they want to be leaders.”
After exploring education options around her hometown of West Palm Beach, Fla., Dukes chose to pursue her Master of Arts in Education at Ashford, knowing that the online format would allow her to balance school, work, and her home life – which includes twin 8-year-old boys. At the same time, Dukes was volunteering in after-school programs to help kids whose parents couldn’t afford tutoring. This activity allowed her to apply what she was learning in school immediately to her volunteer efforts.
“I wanted to help the kids that need more tutoring,” she said. “With more hands-on experience, you’re able to lead the kids in the right direction and give them the proper information they need for whatever issues they have.”
Becoming a better tutor wasn’t Dukes’ only reason for returning to college. Her ultimate goal is to open her own charter school and provide parents an alternative to public schools. For Dukes, who was making the leap into education from a completely different career, having a master’s degree would allow her to map out a plan for her future.
“Getting my degree from Ashford helped me to understand what education is about,” she said. “All of the avenues, any obstacles that are in my way, the knowledge to help others gain knowledge: without going to school I wouldn’t have that experience. I wouldn’t have the knowledge to help someone else.”
Ashford University’s Outstanding Alum of the Month recognition was created to spotlight Ashford success stories and graduates who have used their Ashford education as a springboard to personal and professional achievement.
About Ashford University
Where heritage meets innovation – that’s Ashford University. At Ashford, students discover relevant degree programs, innovative technology, and cherished tradition. Ashford offers associates, bachelor’s, and master’s degree programs online, allowing students to balance life by providing the flexibility to do school work anywhere, anytime. For more information, please visit www.ashford.edu, www.facebook.com/ashforduniversity, www.twitter.com/AshfordU, or call Marianne Perez, Media Relations Manager, at 858.513.9240 x11636.