Ray'Shaun Reed - A Change for the Better!
Ray’Shaun Reed has always had a passion for improvement. His strong drive began on the basketball court and has taken him — almost — all the way to a master’s degree.
Reed’s hard work originally landed him a scholarship to play basketball at a small college in Kansas after graduating from Olathe North High School in 2010. Becoming a student-athlete was a huge accomplishment, but ultimately not what Reed saw for himself.
“I decided to end my career as a basketball player but still wanted to finish my degree,” he said.
In terms of a career, at that time, all he knew was that he wanted to help people.
Reed completed his bachelor’s degree in human services with thoughts of pursuing social work or counseling. It turned out, however, that a new opportunity presented itself, one that solidified Reed’s plan for the future.
“My high school coach reached out to me and asked if I wanted to help coach basketball at Olathe North,” he said.
The idea of coaching appealed to Reed’s highly driven nature and he was excited to be back on the court in a different capacity. In order to make coaching a reality, he needed to be on staff at the high school.
“I accepted a job as a paraprofessional and fell in love with the school environment, coaching and teaching. I really enjoyed it,” he said.
As a paraprofessional at the high school, Reed worked one-on-one with students who had learning disabilities or behavioral challenges.
“I started to notice that even the smallest improvements made students feel better about themselves. When they finally got the hang of something, those kids were totally different — they had a new style,” Reed said.
Seeing the lightbulb go off in students’ minds flipped the switch for Reed. He wanted to become a full-time teacher. The position that he’d taken just so he could coach ended up sparking an entirely new dream.
Instead of sticking with high school, Reed pursued elementary education and began researching paths to certification. In his search, he came across Kansas State University Global Campus and was sold.
“K-State’s program fit my life completely,” he said. “The flexibility of a master’s program online allowed me to continue my daily responsibilities while completing my degree from a computer.”
Reed, who will graduate in May 2019, even earned a Kansas Transitions to Teaching Fellowship. This scholarship is awarded to K-State students pursuing a Master of Arts in Teaching online. Recipients will work in an underserved Kansas school district after graduation.
Reed appreciates Global Campus’s support of future teachers and the commitment of the K-State staff.
Reed’s work, along with support from his professors, will earn him the ability to teach full time, which means the world. His gratitude was evident when he paused when asked to explain the difference Global Campus and a master’s degree will have on his life.
“Wow,” he said, “there are so many things I could say. Being able to receive my master’s degree and teach students, knowing that I was able to earn this, having those things in the back of my mind at all times, lets me know that I can overcome any challenge.”