In continuation of our Immigrant Stories, features highlighting students who identify as immigrants, we spoke with Mário Gouvêa Ransan. Mário, a candidate in the EdD: Leadership program, holds two degrees from Spalding — an MA in Teaching and an MEd in Instructional Leadership. He was a graduate of the inaugural JCPS Aspiring Leaders program at Spalding. Mario was born in Brasil and moved to the United States when he was 12.
If you feel comfortable doing so, share a little about your family and your experience of when and why you came to the United States? Were there any challenges you/your family faced?
We came to the United States when I was 12 years old and my sisters and I spoke almost no English. I did not have a good experience while in middle and high school. Unfortunately, the teachers I had did not have the tools or training to help support an ELL student and I graduated High School with a very low GPA. This experience is what inspired me to be a teacher. I strive to make sure that no child has to go through the same experience I went through.
Why did you decide to come to Spalding?
I came to Spalding after speaking with Professor Todd about the alternative certification program. I was convinced of the program due to our shared mission and vision when it comes to education, equity and expectations we should hold for our teachers and students.
EdD: Leadership | Program Overview | College of Education
MA in Teaching | Program Overview
MEd in Instructional Leadership | Program Overview
What has your experience been like as an immigrant student at Spalding, and are you happy/proud to now be a part of the Spalding community?
I’ve felt welcomed at Spalding since day one of class. I have two master’s [degrees] from Spalding and am now working on my doctorate. Every single professor I’ve ever had has been encouraging and has helped me grow as a student and as a leader. I am very proud to be a Spalding student and am very happy with the time I’ve spent here.
Are there ways people could be more supportive of immigrant students?
I think one important thing is just being aware of who the immigrants within your room are and knowing the challenges that exist for those students. Even if the student is coming from an English-speaking country, there are important cultural differences that are crucial in being able to help students find success. Awareness is key. Spalding University as a whole always strives to be inclusive in all things, with a heavy focus on equity, and I appreciate that a lot.
What do you hope to do with your degree from Spalding, and does your immigrant experience influence your goals for your academic career, your professional career or your life?
My immigrant experience is a big driving force behind my goals. I am an educator and am striving to become an administrator within JCPS. My goal as an educator has always been to be the teacher that would have helped me be successful when I was in school. My goal as an administrator is to inspire and teach new teachers to be able to help all kids from all backgrounds and cultures find success. I hope to one day be able to grow this impact even further so that no child has to go through what I went through in school.