Women’s History Month: EDUKAN recognizes their tech-savvy Learning Manager, Doralia Reynolds, who can still teach students new tricks

For Women’s History Month, we are highlighting one of EDUKAN’s most decorated team members, Doralia Reynolds, Learning Manager, a tech savvy 70+ year old teaching veteran who oversees the change she is affecting at EDUKAN for all students. 

Doralia has accomplished many things and have touched many people’s lives over the years:

After starting her teaching career in 1962 as a public school teacher in Beaver Oklahoma, she won the Jaycees Outstanding Young Educator Award in 1966. Doralia started teaching economics at Seward Community College in 1970 and became division chair in 1974 until she “retired” in 2004. But Doralia was still greatly involved withEDUKAN and in 2007, Pearson recognized her for Excellence in Teaching.

She has been with EDUKAN since its inception in 1998, helping to foster the development of online education and today, plays an active role in the day-to-day operations of the distance education program. Doralia has also received a NISOD Excellence award and the Seward Country Trailblazer Award for Innovation and Creativity in Instructional Delivery.

Doralia’s hobbies include participating in a shooting club where she is known to compete in period costumes, collecting purses (which she has over 100), knitting and taking care of her dog Susie. Doralia also loves buffaloes and has a wall in her house is dedicated to them with paintings and other forms of art.

Below are some excerpts from conversations many of her friends and co-workers had to say about her before they celebrated her 50th Anniversary in education, where she was honored at a Consortium Conference held at Seward County Community College on September 282012:

Story from Joyce Mooney

“Doralia is one the youngest 71 year olds I know. She has so many good ideas and is not afraid to try them. She’s a very precise person and expects perfection from us all, which is a challenge! Her knowledge of education is profound and she’s always willing to learn more. She’s a wonderful person to work with and I treasure calling her my friend.”

Story from Marcia Hatcher

“Doralia has been a boss, a friend, and a colleague of mine for twenty-five years. We’ve shared a few laughs, a few tears, and a few stress filled moments. Doralia is a brilliant woman and even though she has been in education 50 years she hasn’t lost any of her enthusiasm for learning more. She eagerly plunges through professional development days, soaking up and retaining more knowledge than most people 50 years younger.

My favorite story of her occurred on a trip to Denver for one of the first training sessions at eCollege. Our plane had just landed and we had a short time before our appointment so we were hurriedly in pursuit of a taxi into town. None of us knew that we were supposed to take the first taxi in the line. Doralia was in the lead and she proceeded to pass up several taxi drivers until she found one that was ‘suitable’ for us; i.e., a driver that looked clean and trustworthy with the same adjectives for the vehicle. Needless to say, this made the driver of the first cab very angry and he started yelling at us. Once we realized that our only option for transportation was the first cab driver we had to do some fast-talking to get him to reconsider and take us into Denver. We were sure that someone would find our bodies at the bottom of a ravine, but other than his angry words the driver delivered us safely to our destination. It’s been a story to remember and laugh about for many years.”

Story from Diane Heiers

“It is my pleasure to know Doralia Reynolds and to have worked as one of her secretaries. She loved teaching and also giving people a chance. I was one of those people. I was taking classes at SCCC/ATS and looking for a secretarial position. It had been many years since I had worked in an office, but Doralia saw the potential in me. She was a wonderful boss and offered instruction, constructive criticism, and encouragement to be active on campus and in the community. Education has been an important part of Doralia’s life and I can’t see her ever really retiring from it. In some form or another she will be doing something related to teaching and education.”

Story from Donna Fisher

“I would not be where I am today if it were not for Doralia Reynolds. I began working for Doralia in 1994 as Business Division secretary. I was a few hours short of an Associate degree. Doralia highly encouraged me (motivated me in only a way that is known to Doralia!) to finish my degree plan in Secretarial Science. With the completion of an associate’s degree, I gained the confidence to pursue a bachelor’s degree in Human Resource Management. Thank you, Doralia, for the confidence that you had in me and many, many other students as well.”

Story from Galen McSpadden

“Little did I know that in the summers of 1972 and 73 while playing baseball for the Liberal Bee Jays, I would be employed by the City of Liberal and working for a man named Dick Reynolds, the City Manager and the husband of Doralia Reynolds. There were 10 Bee Jay players employed by the City that first summer of 72 and none could operate heavy equipment nor did they want to work very hard except one who had grown up in a farming community, me. So Mr. Reynolds took a liking to the fact that I could handle equipment and wasn’t afraid to work. He treated me very well and little did he know that six years later I would become a colleague with his wife, Doralia, at SCCC/ATS for over two decades. The Business Division became quite strong under her leadership as Division Chair as she was firm and fair with both the student populations as well as her faculty. Both of my children had her in several classes and spoke highly of the manner in which she would instruct and handle her students. Their comments about Doralia were that they, as her students, knew where she was coming from, knew where she was headed, and knew just where she wanted them to get to.

As I dealt with Doralia throughout the years, I came to respect her firmness and fairness as well even during times when we both agreed and/or disagreed. She always would give me the time needed when I would discuss class performance of any of my student-athletes. Being an avid hunter, I also came to respect two other characteristics of Doralia….one was the fact that she became quite a “Shooter” and would travel long distances to compete and perform her gunmanship. The other was her love for her dogs and when the opportunity came not long ago for me to help her following the loss of one of her favorites, it was an honor that Doralia phoned me and asked for help. It was not until then that I came to realize that she just might have had a little of the respect that I had had for her, for me.

Congratulations Doralia Reynolds for 50 years of giving a small portion of yourself to benefit hundreds of others and a special place awaits you. I am thankful that our life’s paths managed to cross one another.”

Story from Todd Carter

“Doralia was always on the lookout for better instructional and assessment tools and approaches. She heard one of my students talking about a new assessment technique I was using in biology (Making Connections Papers) and came down to my office to find out about it. The next week she had adapted it for use in an online environment and was testing it out as an assessment tool for critical thinking. As a neophyte division chair I learned a great deal about policy, the importance of documenting procedures, and how to use planning processes to manage multiple projects. It has served me well. I’m not sure, but I think she might have had some pull with Charles Brownlee when I got the biology teaching position in 1993.”

Story from Cletus Carter

“I first met Miss Doralia Bransky in the fall of 1962 when we started our first year of teaching at Beaver High School in Beaver, Oklahoma. This initiated a friendship between Doralia and our family that has lasted 50 years. I taught with her for eight years before she started her teaching career at Seward County Community College in Liberal, Kansas. It became evident that Doralia had a passion for education and her students. She saw it as a calling. She was loved and admired by her students and colleagues alike. The students dedicated the 1966 Beaver Duster Annual to Doralia. They said, “Without the untiring efforts of Miss Bransky, the spirit of Beaver High would not be the same. You can see and feel her touch in numerous activities. We dedicate this 1966 Duster to you, Miss Doralia Bransky, because we love you not only as a teacher but as a dear friend.”

Words from Past Executive Director

“Beginning with extensive development in educational access television and continuing on through online Internet instructional adaptations, she constantly refines the techniques of online teaching with innovative tools to empower students to achieve and faculty to teach at the highest level of engagement and course satisfaction. It is this outstanding ability of combining teaching, instructional assessment and curriculum, student satisfaction, and ongoing faculty development, combined with the experience as former department chair that has prepared Doralia as the first official full-time Academic Coordinator for EDUKAN.”