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DR. RUBY EVANS: Transformational Leadership in Education

Ruby Evans, Ph.D.

Molding Minds and Reshaping Futures 


With an unwavering commitment to excellence and innovation, Dr. Ruby Evans, a visionary educational leader, has left an indelible mark on the higher education landscape. Through a journey marked by resilience and an unyielding passion for molding young minds, Evans has emerged as a luminary whose dedication has reshaped the education trajectory.

 

Evans—a firm believer in a power higher than self—is a dedicated parent, a university professor, statistical consultant, entrepreneur, tennis enthusiast, and philanthropist. Growing up as a country girl from the backwoods of rural Louisiana, this pioneer and innovative trailblazer has always lived up to the mantra—Be the best of whatever you are

 

The words and meaning of the timeless poem “Be the Best of Whatever You Are” by Douglas Malloch were instilled in Evans at an early age by her mother. She used these words as internal motivation to earn degrees in Mathematics from Grambling State University, Applied Statistics from Louisiana State University-Baton Rouge, and a doctorate in Higher Education Administration with a minor in theoretical statistics from the University of Florida, Gainesville. Reflecting on her humble beginnings, Evans shares, “Grambling told me that I was as good as I thought I could be, possibly better.  I developed an unwavering ‘can-do’ attitude. That’s from my mother and GSU and has always been my philosophy for life in professional and personal achievements.” 

 

PROFESSIONAL ACHIEVEMENTS

Evans’ faculty and administrative experiences span 40 years in K-20 education in various institutional settings, including the two-year college, the traditional university, and the online university. She has served as an educator from middle school through the doctoral research university in various roles, including program coordinator, department chair, Dean, and Vice-Chancellor of Academic Affairs. She has integrated technology into instruction as an innovator among her faculty peers. She has also helped students author multiple research proposals and chaired master’s level and doctoral research committees. 


“Coming from an extensive line of educators in my family, I began my professional career in the K-12 school setting, where I taught mathematics and computer science. Soon after, I transitioned into postsecondary education and began teaching mathematics and statistics in Florida’s community college system. Throughout my faculty positions, I continued to develop new and innovative curricula for on-ground, Web-enhanced, and fully online courses in my areas of disciplinary expertise.

 

“In the early 90’s, I was the first professor in my department to integrate technology into mathematics and statistics instruction. At an international conference on teaching and learning, my innovation piqued interest, and my incorporation of technology in instruction was subsequently chronicled in the magazine Scientific Computing and Automation. As if that were not enough, Minitab Inc., a privately owned company headquartered in State College, Pennsylvania, ran the article as a reprint for approximately five years and included it whenever it sent out a demo copy of that statistical software program. It was such an honor for me, similar to a singer who heard her song play on the radio. For a learning-centered professor such as myself, it was an affirmation that what I was doing was well-received by the academic community.”

 

Evans is an Associate Professor of Mathematics and Statistics at Colorado Technical University and has been a member of the online faculty since 2005. Students have repeatedly honored her with a Distinguished Faculty of the Year nomination, and in 2023, Evans was selected as a recipient of the prestigious university-wide award. 


Evans notes, “I have a strong and diverse background with expertise in curriculum development, faculty development, mathematics/statistics, research, educational consulting, and online education. I also hold certification to teach Mathematics for grades 6-12, and I am an approved Reader in secondary Advanced Placement (AP) Statistics. I love logical thinking (my math background) and collecting, analyzing, and interpreting data (my statistical training). My academic and professional training equip me with core skills to be the best professor possible for students.” 


AVID TENNIS PLAYER

But there’s more to Evans than a stellar academic background and professional career. Along with these accomplishments, she has achieved noteworthy recognition in tennis. Growing up in rural Louisiana, Evans had few, if any, tennis courts where she could hone her skills in the game. The tennis bug bit her when she entered a special college summer program, appropriately named the High Ability Program, for high school juniors in the summer of ’76. At Grambling State University, Evans reveled in the nurturing and supportive environment at this historically Black college and university (HBCU), known for its motto: “Where Everybody is Somebody.” As a rising high school senior, she studied mathematics and classical piano in her first summer at Grambling and used tennis as a coping mechanism whenever she felt homesick.

 

Beginning to play tennis at 15 was a late start, to be sure. Always an overachiever, Evans quickly learned the skills needed to be an excellent player. She states with sincere conviction, “After God, I credit my mom and Grambling State University as being the catalysts for most, if not all, of what I have been able to achieve -- academically, professionally, and personally.” 



And as with everything she does using her mantra—be the best of whatever you are--Evans has achieved remarkable success in amateur tennis play. In July 2023, she captured the Champion’s trophy in the American Tennis Association (ATA) National Championships, NTRP Women’s 18 & over Singles, held at the USTA National Campus in Orlando, Florida. Before her championship win, Evans earned a Finalist trophy in the July 2023 ATA Women’s 50 & over tournament.  Its website states, “The ATA is the oldest African American Sports organization in the US, founded in 1917 to promote diversity, inclusion and equity in tennis.”

 

Surprisingly to most (except Evans herself), she has also achieved success while playing much younger opponents. Entering the ATA National Championships. she was ranked number 1 in Region 4, number 2 in Florida, and 35th in the nation on the USTA's National Tennis Rating Program (NTRP) Women's Singles 18+ 3.5 National Standings List. A tennis player's rankings and standings are determined by points earned and match play results at USTA-sanctioned tournaments. At the time of this publication, Evans ranks number 1 in Region 4, number 1 in the Florida section, and number 5 in the nation for the USTA National Standings List, Women's 18 and over 3.5 division. 

 

Evans participated in the National Senior Games, held in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, July 7-18, 2023. Although unseeded in the top half of a 24-player field, Evans reached the semifinals in the main draw of her age division at the NSGs in her first attempt. She qualified for participation by winning the bronze medal in a Florida Senior Game state competition in December of 2022.

 

"To make it to the semifinals of the National Senior Games was simply amazing," says Evans. "The only thing that could have possibly topped that achievement would have been to make it to the final and emerge as the overall winner in my age division." She was rip-roaring through the draw but faltered in the semifinals after playing two back-to-back three-set tiebreakers. "My body just gave out because I drove up to Pittsburgh, had one day of rest, and began continuous match play. I can’t take anything away from my opponent, though, as she beat me fairly and squarely.  

 

“At this age and stage of my life, I don’t feel that I need to prove anything to anyone… except for myself. I am beyond grateful, thankful, and blessed to be able to step on a tennis court, wield a tennis racket, play this wonderful sport... and play it well. And tomorrow, God willing, I will be on a tennis court somewhere.

 

“You can be sure that I’ll be back at the 2025 National Senior Games, which will be held in Des Moines, Iowa.” With a twinkle in her eyes, Evans continues, “The 2024 ATA National Championship? You already know!” Based on her playing record this year, Evans has qualified for participation in the 2023-2024 USTA Florida NTRP Singles Sectional Championship to be held this month, 20-21 January, for women 40 and over.

 

Known for her powerful forehand, Evans continues to enjoy the game, and her trophy collection is approaching 25 pieces of hardware. Not bad for someone who only began playing USTA-sanctioned tournaments in June 2022. Evans explains, “A year ago, I wasn’t even ranked, and now I’m on the USTA’s national standings list in my division, ranked at number 5! That gives me goosebumps. But I have a tremendous team of coaches, supporters, and friends who have helped me get to where I am. 



"I've trained with some of the best coaches in Orlando – and currently train once weekly with Coach Gustavo Munoz, affectionately known to me as Dr. Gus, at the USTA National Campus in Lake Nona. I look forward to my weekly tennis lessons with him because he continually brings out the best in my tennis game. He is a phenomenal coach who has made me a better tennis player, both mentally and physically. My success as a player is inextricably intertwined with his excellence and innovation in coaching/teaching." 

 

Evans remarks, "I'm getting to live out my dream of playing competitive tennis. I'm not trying to be a professional tennis player. Still, I am focused on playing the best I can in local, regional, sectional, and national tournaments--regardless of age--and in USTA league play.

 

GIVING BACK

Fast-forward a half-century from Grambling State University and her humble beginnings in rural Louisiana, Evans has amassed enough accolades to construct a 25-page curricula vitae. She shares, “It’s not as much about what I have accomplished in those pages. Instead, I think about all the students whose lives I have touched and how I helped them keep moving in their educational journeys. I have helped thousands of students achieve their academic and career goals. It is gratifying to know that I have also inspired students to grasp the importance of statistics and data analysis in their daily lives.”   

 

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