It is always enlightening to find a person’s strength and use that strength to build complex concepts.

Donna McCrary, Ph.D.

  • Faculty
Curriculum and Instruction

Dr. Donna McCrary believes that life is an adventure, and she plans to experience it all.

McCrary grew up in Dallas, Texas. She is a first-generation college graduate who was encouraged from an early age by her parents to attend college. Her parents believed college provided access to a better life with financial independence and the ability to achieve her goals.

Upon entering college and exploring career options, McCrary was intrigued by the idea of becoming a college professor but didn't think she could attain such a lofty goal. However, each step in her career moved her closer to that role. She advanced from classroom teacher to administrator and eventually found her niche in the college classroom.

She says her experiences along the way prepared her to teach college students. Her motto is “all means all,” meaning all children, despite their unique circumstances, deserve the gift of education. She carries this model to the college classroom through her instruction style and how she works with students.

When not teaching, McCrary can be found boating, camping, skiing, hiking or cycling. She is an avid traveler who has visited more than 20 countries and most of the United States. She also enjoys reading and watching movies.

On Sundays, McCrary teaches adults with developmental disabilities at her church, which she describes as an inspiring time for her and her students. “It is always enlightening to find a person's strength and use that strength to build complex concepts,” McCrary says.

A Conversation with Dr. McCrary

What would you tell a student who is thinking about attending A&M-Commerce?

A&M-Commerce is a place that allows you to explore your interests and determine the next steps to reach your life goals. The university is a mentor-centered university. Professors are available and willing to guide you on your educational journey and help you cross the finish line of graduation. After you graduate, your mentors will still be available as you begin your career. While these things are not requirements of the university professor, they are examples of ways your teachers voluntarily work to help you succeed.

What do you like most about your career?

I like the colleagues I work with in the early childhood program section of the Department of Curriculum and Instruction. Each person brings unique insight about young children to the classroom and to their research. They are dedicated, selfless and committed to student success. I also enjoy the opportunities provided at A&M-Commerce to network with state, national and international educators. This global emphasis helps to enhance my classroom teaching and serve children through a larger worldview lens.

How do you help students at A&M-Commerce?

First, I work with undergraduate students at A&M-Commerce who are beginning their journey into classroom teaching. I help them devise a lesson plan and create positive learning environments within the schools where they complete their internship and residency programs.

Second, I advise master's students seeking graduate coursework in early childhood education. Many of these students attend our program from various geographic locations in the United States. It is a pleasure to help them refine their craft of teaching and then practice that craft in their own personal locale.

Third, I help students who are pursuing doctoral work at the university. These students are at the height of their educational journey, and I help them with coursework and designing their doctoral dissertations.

Fourth, I work with the scholarship committee within my department. As a member of this committee, we determine scholarship awards and distribute more than $50,000 in scholarships each year to deserving students.

Educational Background

Selected Publications

  • McCrary, D. and Brown, D. (2022). Measuring quality in Head Start through the lens of families who have children with special needs. International Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences 12(3).
  • McCrary, D. and Dyer, J. (2022). Evaluation of developmental status (PEDS) screening instrument in a displaced Amazonian community of Peru. International Journal of Social Policy and Education 4(6).
  • Billups, R. and McCrary, D. (2021). Investigating the attitudes of pre-service early childhood educators concerning their attitudes toward physical activity in the early years.
  • International Journal of Social Policy and Education, 3(11).
  • Moses, T., & McCrary, D. (2022). The Perceptions of Army School Liaisons Concerning School Issues of Military-Connected Students. Education, 142(2), 91-101.
  • Sennette, J., Morton, T., Brown, D., & McCrary, D. Communities in action: Mentoring urban African American and Latina Adolescent Girls. (2020). American International Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences, September 2020
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