M.S.: Training and Development (UW-Stout)
B.S.: Business Administration (Lakeland College)
Debbie Young is an educator and leader who holds a passion for transforming systems of teaching and learning, educational sustainability means taking an approach that seeks to make change for our society. As a teacher, or learner, or leader, Debbie strives to facilitate change. She believes through this educational approach, learners, teachers, organizations, communities, and government should better understand the complexity of the world around them and should encourage people and organizations to think in terms of relationships, connectedness, and context and motivate them to do something about sustainability – in their personal lives and within their community.
Many of Debbie’s life experiences showcase examples of her interest in building socially, ecologically and economically sustainable communities and in transforming systems of teaching, learning and leadership. She was motivated to join the Ed.D. in Educational Sustainability due to the program’s learning goals and a strong desire to grow in the knowledge and skills that this program has to offer.
One of the proudest accomplishments of Debbie’s life was earning her college degree. During the 1970s, her parents discussed college plans after high school graduation with her younger brothers, but it was not discussed as an option for her or her sister. The experience of being treated differently because of gender caused both her sister and her to be even more determined to go on to college. Debbie joined the Army when she was 19. She wanted to see the world, experience different roles as a woman, and attend college. It would take 14 years to complete a bachelor’s degree, pursuing her educational goals part-time when her military duties allowed. It was during one of her first assignments in the Army, she became an instructor and discovered a passion for teaching. While working as an Army Instructor, Debbie worked closely with curriculum developers and acquired an interest in instructional design systems. Another door opened right at the end of her undergraduate program when a graduate program in training and development was offered on the Army base.
In 2014, Debbie started in a new position as the Tomah VA Medical Center's Education Coordinator. In this role, she analyzes, develops and implements the Medical Center's master educational plan, considering health care priorities and medical center goals and objectives; develop policies and procedures which provide guidance to services and units in the planning, implementation, and evaluation of education programs. She manages the local Leader Development Program and consider this one of her proudest accomplishments. This opportunity develops staff leadership skills and create a work environment in the facility that supports, encourages, and grows servant leaders. The program strengthens a commitment to sustain an organizational climate that is focused on quality of service through leadership actions, builds a sense of community, and builds strategic skills for effective decision making, strategy development, and implementation.
Additional examples of service within Debbie’s community include her as an active member of the local American Association of University Women (AAUW), the American Legion, and the Disabled American Veteran Tomah Chapters. AAUW advances equity for women and girls through advocacy, education, philanthropy, and research, believing that together we can transform society for the better. The American Legion is the nation’s largest wartime veterans service organization aimed at advocating patriotism across the U.S. through diverse programs. The Disabled American Veterans organization is dedicated to empowering veterans to lead high-quality lives with respect and dignity. In the past, I have also been a Girl Scout leader and trainer and taught religious education in my community.
Over the last 40 years, Debbie has worked to establish herself as an educator, a systems thinker, and a leader in her professional and personal life. She believes firmly that the field of educational sustainability resonates with her mind and spirit and will support her life and career goals. As an educator and leader who holds a passion for transforming systems of teaching and learning, Debbie can see how her past experiences align with sustainability. She believes that education will help not only herself but also help other people understand the complexity of the world around them. She is a self-directed, independent learner, who also enjoys learning and working collaboratively with a group. Debbie loves the idea of transforming teaching and learning and as a life-long learner, she is encouraged and open to learn how she can learn better as a student. As Debbie reviewed the six core principles, she was drawn towards two areas specifically, transformative learning and systems thinking. She has studied and worked in these areas for years and am interested in learning not only more about these two areas but strives to learn more about the other four core principles.