Sandra Doran, EdD
I never envisioned myself standing in the Old South Church in Boston, a doctoral hood being placed over my head. But there was this child in my family with an enormous amount of energy, struggling to read, trying to find his place in school and life. School committees told me I was an overprotective mother. Maybe so, but this overprotective mother wanted answers.
My quest for understanding led me to quit my job as the administrator of the Montessori School of East Providence, Rhode Island, negotiate my way by train and subway system into a city I’d never entered, flow with crowds, hail random artists and hurried businessmen for directions, and arrive on the campus of Boston University in the office of the head of the department of special education. “What is it that you’d like to become?” he asked me, as I talked of entering the doctoral program. “That’s not the point,” I said. “It’s what I want to know.”
I can say without equivocation that the highlight of my doctoral program was landing at Kaufman Educational Associates as an intern, where Dr. Lorna Kaufman taught me everything I now know about teaching children to read. This not only launched my professional career in new directions, but provided the knowledge and power our family needed to find answers for our dyslexic son. With Lorna’s help, I boldly spoke my mind at school team meetings, refused to accept second-best for Eric, and ultimately landed him an Orton-Gillingham tutor three days a week—the only student at his 800-member junior high school to be afforded such a service.
Today my son holds a two-year degree in show production, serves as an audio engineer in Orlando, and runs a successful cell-phone business on the side. The advocacy skills I learned from Lorna also proved invaluable through the years as I helped my younger son navigate emotional and physical challenges of his own.
As an Associate Superintendent of Education for the Florida Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, supervising 30 schools, I continue to be a voice for those who need to be heard. Nothing gives me greater joy than knowing I have made the difference in a single life.
Dr. Sandra Doran holds a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Atlantic Union College, a master’s degree in communication from Andrews University, and a doctorate in special education from Boston University, where she developed a specialty in attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. She has enjoyed a combined career in writing and education, and is a popular speaker among school and church groups. With her expertise in writing, Sandra has served as feature editor of Focus, Andrews University’s alumni magazine; regular columnist for Signs, Adventist Review and ParentTalk magazines; and staff writer for Communication and Design Advertising Agency. She has published chapters in three books: Raising them Right: Focus on the Family Offers Its Best Advice on Child-Rearing; The Christian Family Answer Book; and Creation Health Devotional and has four published books of her own: Finally Free: The James Finley Story; Gathering: A Search for Balance and Fulfillment; Every Time I Say Grace, We Fight; and The House That God Built.
In the field of education, Sandra has taught on every level from pre-school through graduate school and has served as principal of two schools. As an adjunct and student teacher supervisor, she has worked with Atlantic Union College, Southern Adventist University, Adventist University of Health Sciences, Boston University, Tufts University, Lesley University, Providence College, and University of Central Florida. Her website, TheTeacherTrack, provides resources for teachers around the country.
Sandra is currently Associate Superintendent for the Florida Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, serving 30 schools from Tallahassee to Miami. She lives in central Florida with her pastor husband, Eric M. Doran.