Rachel Rice

Ph.D. in Leadership Studies

About Me

I originally attended Whittier College where I earned a BA in Theatre Arts. After several years of working in theatres and amusement parks in Orange County and Los Angeles County, I found that what I was doing was teaching, so I switched careers and became a teacher. In 2008 I graduated from SDSU with a Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction and knew that I wanted to continue on in my education. To date I am in my 13th year of teaching, 11 of them in the public school system. I am a full-time teacher in San Diego Unified School District as a Lead English Teacher. I teach 9th grade English and 11th Advanced Placement English, in addition to overseeing professional development for the English Department.

What do you hope to do with your degree?

I want to research educational practices that will improve teaching as a practice and as a profession.

How did you hear about SOLES, and why did you choose to enroll?

I had several friends that went through graduate programs at USD (and I teach in a district that was partnered with SOLES), but I also researched USD and found that they had a program that is world renowned.

Tell us about any research or independent study you have done at SOLES.

I have had a couple of different independent projects that I have participated in. First off, I went to Fiji to install clean water filters in Fijian and Hindo-Fijian homes. I researched the tension between the Fijian people and the people of Indian descent while completing my international requirement. I also did an independent study to complete my review of literature for my dissertation. Lastly, I have done several independent research projects including researching for two educational firms (one non-profit, one for-profit) and researched women in leadership, which became a presentation at the International Leadership Association (ILA) conference.

How has your SOLES education impacted your career?

I have realized that I am really passionate about helping people become better teachers. I have learned how to look in the moment at a problem and then “pull-up” into the balcony to see the full picture.

Which class has impacted you the most?

How do you pick? Every class that I have taken has really pushed me to think about a topic in a new perspective. Of all the courses, Adult Development and Mixed-Methods have pushed me the furthest in my own understanding of how I learn and then how I in turn use that knowledge.

Are there specific SOLES faculty you feel have contributed significantly to your success?

My dissertation committee has been the biggest supporters of my learning. Frank KemererLea Hubbard, and George Reed are dedicated to their students, what they learn, and how they progress in the program. But, I have found that I can talk and connect with all the SOLES faculty, whether or not I have ever been their student.

What is your dream job?

My dream job is to be Secretary of Education for the State of California.