Dr. Donica Hadley, Newly Hired Doctoral Fellow

College of Education

SUMMARY: We welcome Dr. Donica Hadley to the College of Education community as a newly hired doctoral fellow.

Dr. Donica Hadley, Learning Technology and Leadership Education

by Xixëllonjë Nebihu

Hadley received her B.S. in Elementary Education PreK-9 from the State University of New York at Oswego (1998) and her M.Ed. in Educational Leadership from the University of Massachusetts at Lowell (2005). She is a recent Ph.D. graduate from Old Dominion University. 

Hadley has always had a keen desire for education. Her dedication and commitment to education started when she was 22 and continues for over 23 years. Two years after teaching fourth grade in Spotsylvania County, Virginia, she moved to Boston with her husband and continued teaching in K-8 schools.

After many years in public schools, Hadley transitioned to higher education, working part-time supervising practicum students at JMU. She became a full-time adjunct for a year, teaching curriculum courses, seminars, and creativity courses. Although she loves teaching students at JMU and is dedicated to them, she realized the role that Rockingham County Public Schools needed for her to fulfill. She returned as an assistant principal for five years, while obtaining her Ph.D. 

Dr. Hadley shares her experiences of being a principal for 5 years. She focused on building a school community while empowering and uplifting students and teachers. She said, "It was such a growing experience for myself, for the students, and the community. It was so powerful and so positive in so many ways. We focused on building and empowering a school community where students, teachers and staff were collaboratively responsible for learning."

While she started out at public schools, she oscillated between public schools and higher education institutions. After switching between these institutions, she now focuses her work at JMU. Hadley is currently teaching Leadership and Communication Skills in Leadership, Collaborating, Teaming and Leading in Schools.

Hadley joined the Doctoral Fellow Program while teaching at JMU. She shows her appreciation for this program by stating, "This program doesn’t just drop you off and say good luck. It is a representation for people of color, it is so powerful, and I am so happy to not only represent people of color in education but represent the journey that I share with others, regardless of the color of my skin. And it’s been an incredible opportunity, so I’m very grateful."

Hadley's husband, Mark, and their three children, Braden, Logan, and Jack along with her immediate and extended family have been her biggest supporters.

Please join me again by welcoming Dr. Donica Hadley to our community.

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Published: Tuesday, September 7, 2021

Last Updated: Tuesday, January 3, 2023

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