Dr. Vangie Akridge brings her commitment to education wherever it’s needed.
QUOTE: “The knowledge is the only thing that is truly mine. What good is it if I don’t share it?”
Dr. Vangie Akridge has built a unique career as an educational leader where she can share her knowledge and professional experience with her community and her students. Vangie’s journey is a great example of how one person can truly make a huge impact through education. We’re excited for you to read her story so let’s dive in!
After working as a school psychologist for several years, Vangie wanted to pursue her doctorate in clinical psychology at the California School of Education (CSOE) at Alliant International University. Vangie felt that a doctoral degree would provide her with more expertise and credibility in her field. She also wanted to use her advanced education to help strengthen the relationship between K-12 schools and her community. But after a chance meeting with former CSOE program director, Dr. Steve Fisher, she discovered that a PsyD in educational psychology would be a better fit given her background and her desire to use this doctorate specifically in the educational field. “He was very personable and down to earth. I explained my professional situation and my long-term goals, and he thought I would be a great candidate for the Ed PsyD program. He provided an alternative pathway that made fantastic sense for what I wanted to do.” This decision led to a great education and allowed Vangie to pursue professional opportunities at Alliant as well.
As a core faculty member with the PPS program, Vangie brings a unique perspective to her students. As a CSOE alumna herself, she knows the challenges students face in balancing their professional, personal, and academic commitments. Vangie can speak first-hand to this and help her students avoid burnout in order to succeed. In addition to being an assistant professor and core faculty member at CSOE, Vangie is still ingrained in the K-12 world as a special education administrator. Her colleagues often consult with her when they need both the K-12 and higher education perspectives. Or as she puts it, “Iron sharpens iron. The fact that I’m in one world keeps me sharp in another world and vice versa.” It also supports Vangie’s commitment to recycling her education and experience. “Providing my students with anecdotal information and qualitative scenarios and tools that I use regularly is just one of my givebacks. The knowledge is the only thing that is truly mine, but what good is it if I don't share it?”
Dr. Akdridge also recognizes that there aren't many people of color that pursue this education and that it’s important for her to show students of color what is possible for them and their careers. “Educating the next generation is me passing the torch. I won’t do this forever, so I am actively working on training the next generation of Dr. Akridges who will have that same level of commitment to the schools and the community, especially the ethnic and marginalized communities.” She is also very involved in the local San Diego African American community and has established herself as the person to call for anything mental health or education related. She often speaks at events, writes articles for professional journals, and has appeared in local media news outlets. “I look for ways to extend my impact, especially knowing that the percentage of folks with my life experience is small. I try to keep that in mind and lend my voice and expertise wherever I can because ultimately it will make the next generation of school psychologists and school sites better and stronger. It will also improve the support and services that our K-12 kids receive.”
Through her career, education, community service, and professional organizations, Vangie’s commitment to sharing her knowledge is always front and center. This, along with her vision for creating stronger schools, make her a powerful role model for future educational leaders and our CSOE students.
Elizabeth Quinn is an independent writer and producer whose work spans theatre, podcast, film, and television mediums. She brings over...