We had the good fortune of connecting with Crystal Conigland and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Crystal, as a parent, what do you feel is the most meaningful thing you’ve done for them?
Being a parent is not easy but being a single African American parent in a huge city like Houston is unsurmountable. There are so many challenges raising not one but two athletes and college academic students is probably one of the biggest challenges I have ever faced. Your children do not and probably will never understand the sacrifices you make for them, but a parents’ prayer is that they will someday understand why you did what you had to do to allow them to have a better life, a life better than yours. The most important thing I did as a parent that gave my children the opportunity to pursue their dreams is giving up my dreams to be an administrator after I received my degree in school administration to follow them throughout their high school and collegiate years as athletes. As I stated in my previous interview, I am a domestic abuse survivor, and my children only had one parent that could support them and give them the support and reliability they needed while they competed in all sports and school. I knew that I could not be a sufficient administrator or be as involved with them as I wanted to be if I would have contused to pursue my career, so for 15 years, I put my career on hold. I continued to teach and held such minor administrative roles, but I was always available for my children, and I hope one day they will realize that all I did for them was for their lives as they pursued their dream in sports.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I am an educator and have been in the profession for over 20 years. My first job was that of a teacher assistant and bus driver, and I later went back to school to finish my degree and become certified to teach. It was not easy for me because I did have to take the certification test several times before passing. Eventually, my career would lead to dual certifications in Science and Social Studies and later School Administrator and Curriculum and Instruction. What sets me aside from those in the profession is that I am also a Robotics Instructor with Black Girl Code, where we work with African American young girls in robotics and STEM. One of the proudest accomplishments is becoming an affiliate of the Space Foundation, an affiliate of NASA, and participating in their Space Age Program working with teachers worldwide. Currently, I attend Grand Canyon University as a doctoral student pursuing my Doctorate of Education in Organizational Change. I just completed my first Residency, which was very intense and mentally exhausting, but I survived and passed. My love for education is not limited to the classroom; I volunteer for the communities I serve and live. It brings me great joy to bring happiness to someone else, especially during this pandemic.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
If my best friend visited Houston, I would not know where to begin. There are so many fun and exciting places to go, plus I am an avid sports fan, so going to sporting events would be in the top category. I love museums, and the downtown district in Houston on Main Street is incredible. The city is very fortunate to have museums that deal with The Renaissance Period Vincent Van Gough, The Vietnam War, and The buffalo Soldiers that visit Houston periodically throughout the year. Those venues would e a must-see. I also love ballets and musicals, and even though COVID has caused a dramatic decline in sales, there are still some significant events on display. Last I love and adore jazz, and my favorite jazz artist, Kyle Turner, plays at this remarkable restaurant called Phil and Dereks, so this is not an opt out we must go there! Houston is a remarkable city with many hidden gems, and I have come to love the opportunities that have been given t
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
First and foremost, my recognition goes to God, who has lifted me in so many ways, and my faith has carried me thru some of the roughest times of my life. My children Jerome and Victoria have been my biggest fans that have encouraged me thru the good, the bad, and the ugly, but we made it thru. The prayers and support from my family who live in North Carolina and my mother who still stays on me to be a better version of my self I have one special soror in which we belong to Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc who has been my support from North Carolina whom I sound off my many concerns, and it does not matter what time of day or night I call she is always there. Mr. Mark Mitchell hired me as a substitute teacher and had faith in me to give me an opportunity, and it turned into the best job where I have had the most significant growth as a teacher, a mentor, and a leader for my students. Mrs. .Armenia Holcombe, who has been my support in and out of the classroom and our friendship had grown for the both of us and have allowed us to teach our students and reach the highest levels of achievement in the classroom and last Mr. Frank Young, who inspired me to do what was best for my children when I moved them here to Houston and who has been a great supportive friend even during his dedication to the sports arena and constantly helping children. As you see, my circle of inspiration has a tribe of loving and supportive people, and I would not be where I am today if it were not for them.
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