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Leaning into the Momentum

Nikole Logan GS'18 was pursuing her Doctor of Education in K-12 Administration degree at Bethel when she experienced unanticipated changes in her personal life—but what could have been a roadblock became a catalyst for spiritual, professional, and personal growth.

By Cherie Suonvieri '15, content specialist

November 30, 2018 | 12:30 p.m.

Nikole Logan GS'18

Nikole Logan GS’18 is the partnerships coordinator lead in the Office of Early Learning at Saint Paul Public Schools.

For Nikole Logan GS’18, continuous pursuit of education seemed only natural. She was raised in the Rondo neighborhood¹ of St. Paul, Minnesota among educators and human service professionals. Her lifelong church community in Minneapolis helped to nurture her love for Christ-centered education. And for years, Logan has been combining teaching, learning, service, and advocacy to bring about positive change in her communities.

Logan has resided in the Saint Paul Public School (SPPS) district since birth, and in 1999 it was where she began her education career as a classroom teacher. “As a granddaughter of Rondo, I am ecstatic about contributing to my community all that I have been able to foster for my own family,” she says.

At a school nestled in the Rondo neighborhood, Logan taught kindergarten, second grade, and fourth grade. Then in 2012, she transitioned from teaching in the classroom to working with the Midwest Expansion of the Child Parent Centers in the SPPS Office of Early Learning, where she’s been ever since.

While pursuing her second master’s degree and earning her parent education license, Logan began to research doctoral programs. She was immersed in the early learning community and time after time found herself to be the youngest and the only African American in groups of early education professionals. “I wasn’t well received,” she says. “To them, I wasn’t a qualified voice and they let me know that. So I said, ‘Lord, you’ve given me a perspective, a big voice, and great amount of momentum. Maybe it is time to consider a doctorate degree.’”

Logan applied to Bethel’s Doctor of Education in K-12 Administration program and enrolled in summer 2014. From her first conversations with program faculty during the application process, Logan felt comfortable and familiar with Bethel. Although she didn’t know it at the time, the next years would hold some of the greatest challenges of her life. Looking back, she says that during those times, Bethel was where she needed to be.

Because of these unexpected challenges in her personal life, Logan needed compassion and empathy from her instructors. She says this is exactly what she received. Instructors offered prayers, words of encouragement, and the extra time needed to complete her assignments so Logan could prioritize the needs of her family.

“This is why I say I didn’t choose Bethel, but instead the Lord put it in my path,” Logan says. “He knew all of these things were going to happen…When life felt like it was crumbling, I was in a place where people believed what I believed, encouraged me, and could support my spiritual growth. They were some of the people who walked with me, sharing the load with me until I was ready.”

“[Bethel has] made me a more Christ-like and Christ-filled leader. I understand my gifts and skills, who and what qualifies me, and my calling better than ever.”

— Nikole Logan GS'18

Logan graduated from the program in spring 2018 and is in her 19th year at SPPS. As the partnerships coordinator lead, Logan has designed the mixed delivery of the district’s childcare and early learning community partnerships. She also leads a team of eight people who carry out the work necessary to support children and families through collaboration, advocacy, and providing resources. Her approach to family support is multifaceted, focusing not only on academics but overall family wellness, which she says families need in order to focus on education.

In her professional, personal, and spiritual life, Logan has seen transformation since enrolling at Bethel. “It’s made me a more Christ-like and Christ-filled leader,” she says. “I understand my gifts and skills, who and what qualifies me, and my calling better than ever.”

Having worked in the public school system for nearly two decades, Logan’s professional and spiritual life were not always invited to publicly come together. But through the compassion she saw in Bethel faculty, together with the assigned texts, coursework, and class discussions, she was led to a place where she saw her faith and work coalesce.  

Looking forward, Logan is uncertain what her professional future holds, but she is joyful in anticipation of what is to come. “I want to continue to effect change for children and families,” Logan says. “I’m open to whatever that may look like.”

¹ Rondo was once a thriving, largely African-American community until the construction of Interstate 94 split the neighborhood and forced the relocation of hundreds of people and businesses. Bethel University established a partnership with members of the Frogtown and Summit-University communities, which include the historical Rondo neighborhood, to provide services and resources to community members while allowing Bethel students to serve and learn within the communities. Read more about the 20-year-old partnership.

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