With more than 40 years of professional experience, Jane A. McDonald, EdD, was an associate professor with George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, from 1999 to 2008, having been an associate professor with the George Washington University in Washington from 1989 to 1999. Prior to obtaining these roles, she was assistant superintendent of schools with the Niskayuna Central School District in New York from 1988 to 1989, an executive fellow with the National Academy of School Executives and the American Association of School Administrators from 1987 to 1988, and a high school principal with the Boulder Valley School District in Colorado from 1984 to 1987. Earlier in her career, Dr. McDonald was a high school administrator with the Fairfax County Public Schools from 1974 to 1984, and a teacher with Prince George’s County Public Schools from 1971 to 1974 and the Miami-Dade County Public Schools from 1966 to 1971.
Dr. McDonald began her career as a student at the University of Florida, where she obtained a Bachelor of Education in 1961. Following this accomplishment, she continued her studies with the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, earning a Master of Education in 1978 and an EdD in 1987. Dr. McDonald was notably a member of the American Educational Research Association, the American Association of School Administrators, Phi Delta Kappa International, the International Council of Professors of Educational Leadership and the Virginia Professors of Educational Leadership.
Throughout her career, Dr. McDonald has been recognized for her contributions, including having been nominated among the 100 Top Education Leaders in the United States by the National School Boards Association. The recipient of the Outstanding Contributions to Women’s Fencing Award from the Washington Metropolitan Fencing Association, she was also presented with a Presidential Fitness Award. In light of all her accomplishments, Dr. McDonald has been featured in numerous honors publications, including Who’s Who in America and Who’s Who in American Education.
Dr. McDonald became involved in her profession because she was told all through her life by others when she would babysit that she should be a teacher. They would tell her that she explained things, but she never wanted to be a teacher, as she instead wanted to be a social worker. She dropped out of college and traveled for two years throughout Europe, as her sister was based there. When she could no longer afford traveling back and forth, Dr. McDonald decided to speak to an advisor, who told her she could either do teaching or nursing. She couldn’t be a nurse because she could not stand the sight of blood, so she chose to teach.
Moving forward, Dr. McDonald would like to be remembered by her peers as someone who was curious, a learner, helped others learn, and also had a real passion for helping students learn. Wholly, she is someone with high standards. Dr. McDonald’s favorite part of her profession is watching the growth of students, no matter what age. It is a delight to see them grow into great leaders. She has enjoyed seeing them grow and become more self-confident.
The lessons that Dr. McDonald can pass along to future generations is to always be curious and be a learner. She advises those looking to pursue her field to notice things that go well and what does not so you can learn from that for the future and you can help other people. You can ask people the questions to help them learn.