Alumni Success Story: Calvin Beard, ’15

Calvin Beard, ‘15 will never forget the day that he realized he was in the wrong profession. Learn how his Davenport degree helped him land his dream job as an administrator for the Lansing Public Schools.

1. Tell us about yourself.
I was born and raised in Lansing, Michigan. Growing up, I loved being surrounded by people and enjoyed mentoring kids. After high school, I worked many miscellaneous jobs in the education field, including public safety, where I spent 12 years of my career. I knew I didn’t want to be a teacher, but I loved helping kids.

I will never forget the day that my supervisor suggested that I was in the wrong profession. She shared that my passion for helping children was contagious. She said I should go back to school to become a school administrator so I could have a direct impact on the lives of kids in my community. That day changed me forever. I was inspired to go back to school to earn my degree.

2. Why did you pick Davenport?
I was a non-traditional student returning to school. I knew I wanted to earn a business degree because I loved the administration aspect of the school system. Davenport was the perfect fit for working on the business-side of the school system. I learned how to manage people, handle conflict and lead others, which are irreplaceable skills in today’s workforce.

3. Tell us about your experience as a Davenport student. 
I had a great experience at Davenport’s Lansing Campus. I am so grateful for my advisor, Jenny Thurber, for helping me accomplish my goal of earning my degree. I appreciate that Davenport had a lot of diversity in their programs and opportunities for their students. As soon as I got a degree, I was promoted to the manager of my department. Three years later, I was able to land my dream job!

4. Tell us about your dream job.
I am the assistant administrator at Pleasant View Visual and Performing Arts Academy for Lansing Public Schools. My job brings me so much joy. I assist the head principal in creating a positive culture in the school. I work directly with students and parents to encourage positive behavior. I also manage the athletic program, help with after school events, assist with leading staff and help professional development opportunities. I never thought I would see myself as an administrator.

5. You never thought you would be an administrator. Why do you say that?
I grew up on the rough side of Lansing. I was not always the ideal student. I was the class clown and always got kicked out of class. I had many people around me who cared about me and helped me progress in life. Because of them, I was able to get where I am today. When I started college the first time, I wanted to be an electrical engineer because I was a tinkerer. Every time I tried to get a job in electronics, it would always fall back to working with the youth.

That was my sign that I needed to pursue a job in the education field. Today, I am able to share my journey with the children — where I came from and where I ended up. Telling them that no matter how hard life is or how many things you go through, you can still be successful. I never wanted to be a teacher, but I knew I could make an impact in the school system as a leader.

6. Who inspires you in your life and work?
Those who have been in my life through my journey. First, I am a Christian and I put all my honor, progression and promotion into the Lord. My wife is a huge inspiration to me. She is so supportive of my journey. She is also an administrator in the same district as me. My mentor, Ed Thomas, is a huge inspiration in my life. Ed was a pastor in Lansing and former Lansing Police Officer. Several of my best friend’s parents inspired me to become an educator, including Paula Cunningham who was the former president of Lansing Community College. I could list dozens of amazing mentors who have inspired me on my journey.

7. What do you do when you are not working?
I spend time with my wife and our French bulldog. We like to keep life exciting and spend time traveling and exploring new places. I am two classes away from earning my masters of education in K-12 administration at Michigan State University.

8. Lastly, what is one piece of advice for Davenport students like yourself?
Life is a journey. Your past does not dictate your future. So, set your goals and work for them!


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