Life offers many opportunities for growth, rewards and celebrations. Successful marriages, thriving careers and higher education are a few that many seek after. Well leave it to Calvin and Tashlai Burney to achieve all three – simultaneously. With hard work, commitment and a tremendous support system, at the ages of 30 and 31, together the Burney’s crossed the stage as Doctors of Education!
Both in their 20’s at the time, this amazing power couple met at their doctoral program orientation and bonded over a few commonalities, one being they were the youngest in the session. This meeting led to an undeniable connection, dating and ultimately partnership in business and life.
They married and together have formed and operate non-profits, mentorship programs, a student leadership foundation, a consultant firm and the Rise and Shine Academy of Toledo. They have a strong desire to mentor, encourage and equip youth to become strong leaders.
When asked what were some of the challenges they faced as a couple in a doctoral program they both agreed it was prioritizing. The Burney’s quickly learned that in order to successfully manage business, school and their personal life, there needed to be balance and were sure to give ample time and attention to each other while dividing time with work and school.
The pursuit of higher education comes with challenges on many levels. The Burney’s encountered naysayers that, due to their young ages, expressed doubt that they could achieve such an enormous goal. Up for the challenge, the Burney’s used this to fuel their determination. With a supportive family, church and community they forged ahead and kept the end-goal in sight.
Calvin’s advice to others who desire to achieve a life goal is to simply “Take the leap. You have to remember that regardless of whatever takes place you have to constantly tell yourself ‘I’m going all the way.’ If we continue to push, push and PUSH, nobody can stop us from getting what we’re destined to get.” Tashlai advises that the key to success when faced with adversities and trials is to “Stay the course. While you’re doing that schoolwork it may not seem like this is going to be beneficial. Although it may look that way, in the long run you just have to stay that course. You know what you set your mind to do, so just keep going!”
Seven degrees between them, Tashlai holds Bachelor in psychology, a Masters in Special Education and a Doctoral in Education with a Specialist License in Curriculum and Instruction. Calvin holds a Bachelor in Psychology, a Masters in Divinity and a Doctoral in Education.
Congratulators assembled for a grand banquet to celebrate their tremendous accomplishments. In attendance were their parents, grandparents and a host of family, friends and church members.
What’s next - where are the Burney’s going now? “To the top!” exclaimed Calvin. On their journey to the top are plans for expansion of their school and programs. Their goal is to build a culture of success and excellence here and beyond Toledo.