Justin Dyson is responsible for making sure 81 schools run smoothly. As Director of Maintenance Operations for Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools, he oversees everything from electrical to plumbing to general maintenance.
A former maintenance employee, Dyson climbed the ranks to management thanks to the online Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, now managing, directly and indirectly, 144 employees.
“I would have never landed this job without a degree,” Dyson says.
Take Control Over Your Learning
With the UNC Greensboro campus an hour away and two young kids, online learning was the only option for Dyson, who graduated in 2015. It also suited his learning style. Having completed two years at a community college, Dyson says he preferred the control the online program gave him over his learning.
“I could sit down and do all my work at one time,” he says. “I don’t get anything out of a lecture. I kind of zone out. It’s better for me to just sit down and do the work and figure it out.”
He also liked the flexibility of online learning. If something came up, he could readjust his schedule. Dyson worked on coursework four evenings each week and on Sundays. His oldest child was 3 at the time and wanted to play.
“There were times when I could get up and go play with him for a bit and sit back down, and that wouldn’t have been available if I was away [on campus],” Dyson says.
Gain Needed Skills Online
During the program, Dyson worked as assistant director of facilities for a smaller school system. He knew his current position would be opening and wanted to prepare for it. The business administration degree offered the variety of skills he needed.
He had technical trades and maintenance experience but wanted to move toward management. The program exposed him to management skills, employment law, and accounting. His communication and writing skills improved as well.
“That has helped me tremendously with being able to defuse a situation by email and dealing with personnel issues — the legal side of that in addition to how to communicate effectively with a person that’s upset about something,” he says.
He has been applying those skills since starting the program. “I was able to report directly to work the next day, and a lot of times a specific thing we learned about the night before, I was able to apply it,” he says.
Make Online Learning Work for You
Dyson says the online platform was a good fit for him, but it takes commitment. “Develop a schedule and stick to it — that’s probably the most important thing for an online course because it’s all on you.”
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