Avila Now

January 10, 2023

Avila Full Circle: Angela Danley Returns to Serve as Director of Clinical and Field-Based Experiences

Danley is posing. She's wearing a green sweater. She has short red hair and glasses.
Angela Danley, Ph.D..

Angela Danley, Ph.D., returns to Avila as the new Director of Clinical and Field-Based Experiences, where she earned her Special Education degree and obtained Missouri certification in elementary education and Special Education K-12 in 1996. 

“As a first-generation college student, I chose Avila because of the rigorous program in education and the proximity to my hometown. From my general education courses to my program of study courses, the professors pushed me to think critically and supported my dream,” said Danley. 

“The mission of Avila brought me back. Not only was I seeking a leadership role, but I also wanted to serve at Avila. That has been a goal of mine for many years. I am grateful to be back. It is a full circle moment because I can pass the torch onto aspiring teachers where my journey began.”

Do you feel Avila set you up for success/prepared you for your career?

Avila set me up for success as an educator–this is my 27th year in education, and I still credit many of the professors I had as a student. One of those professors is Dr. Sue Ellen McCalley. Her passion for special education and teaching reading motivated me to be the best educator I could be for my students. The professors at Avila provided me with the foundation to be successful as a special education teacher, classroom teacher, and instructional coach.

“Angela was one of those wonderful students that you never forget. She was dedicated to her studies and involved in many activities. When she applied for this position, I immediately responded, “Hire her!” It is wonderful having her now as a colleague. Our thinking and approach to teaching are very similar. Imagine that! She is dedicated to her students and truly lives Avila’s mission and values. I am thrilled to have her back in the School of Education,” said School of Education Professor Sue Ellen McCalley, Ph.D.

Where did life take you after graduation?

After I graduated in 1996, I stayed in Kansas City because this is where I wanted to start my career and raise a family. I taught special education at Trails West State School, Center School District, and Lee’s Summit School District. While employed in Lee’s Summit School District, I also served as a primary classroom teacher and earned my Master’s Degree in Teaching and my Education Specialist Degree in Principalship. I started the journey towards my Doctorate in Education while teaching and finished the degree while an instructional coach and summer school administrator in Grandview School District.

I thought I’d enter Higher Education after I retired from PK-12 public schools. But I applied for an Assistant Professor position at the University of Central Missouri while working on my superintendent coursework. During my tenure at UCM (2013-2022), I earned my Associate Professor Rank and served as the Program Coordinator for Elementary Education. That led me to explore leadership opportunities in Higher Education and led me back to Avila.  

What makes Avila special?

Avila’s small class sizes make it possible to know each student, and each student can proudly walk across the platform on graduation day with the knowledge and skill sets to be successful in their career. 

Why did your daughter choose Avila?

My youngest daughter, Libby Danley, is a 2021 Blue Springs High School graduate.  She is transferring from MCCKC and will begin her coursework in January 2023. She chose Avila because of the small class sizes, the quality of the faculty in the business program,  and the commute makes it easy for her to continue working. 

Anything else you’d like to share?

Fun Facts about Dr. Danley:

  • Completed 50+ 5ks and 10ks, 13 half marathons, a duathlon, and a full marathon
  • Received Avila Alumni Service Award for her KMOS summer school program as a response to COVID-19
  • Earned two national public media awards for KMOS Summer Classroom 
  • Published in several peer-reviewed journals such as SRATE,  Missouri Reader,  Educational Renaissance, Insight, and International Journal of the Whole Child
  • Married to Bob Danley, Controller of AAG Investments, and they have two daughters: Libby Danley (Avila marketing major) and Abbey Danley (UCM May 2023, teaching)
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