December 1, 2020

Jessica Pope
Communications and Media Relations Coordinator

Distinguished Alumni, GOLD Honorees Deliver Commencement Address at VSU: MEET DR. JANA' L. SPARKS

Dr. Jana' L. Sparks

VALDOSTA — Valdosta State University will celebrate its 230th Commencement with a series of four in-person ceremonies — three for undergraduate students and one for graduate students — on Monday, Dec. 14, at Bazemore-Hyder Stadium.

VSU will recognize graduates from the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at 9 a.m.; Harley Langdale Jr. College of Business Administration and College of the Arts at 12:30 p.m.; James L. and Dorothy H. Dewar College of Education and Human Services, College of Science and Mathematics, and College of Nursing and Health Sciences at 4 p.m.; and Graduate School at 7:30 p.m. Graduates from Fall 2020, Spring 2020, and Summer 2020 have been invited to participate.

Instead of the traditional commencement keynote speaker, each ceremony will feature a compilation video message from VSU's 2020 Distinguished Alumni and Graduate of the Last Decade honorees — all of whom are excited to have the opportunity to offer words of encouragement and wisdom to the graduates and to have the privilege of inspiring a new class of creative, conscious, and caring Blazers ready to meet the needs of a changing global society.

JANA’ L. SPARKS, GRADUATE OF THE LAST DECADE, graduated from VSU with a Doctor of Education in Leadership, specializing in Higher Education Leadership, in 2016.

VSU: What advice do you have for current and future graduates of VSU?

Dr. Jana’ L. Sparks: Never forget that life is not about the destination; it is about the journey that you take. Every day is a new day to strive to be your very best.

About Jana’ L. Sparks (Professional Biography)

Dr. Jana’ L. Sparks is an assistant professor of instructional leadership in the Department of Counselor, Leadership, and Special Education in the College of Education at Auburn University at Montgomery.

Sparks teaches a variety of graduate- and Education Specialist-level courses that provide opportunities for future leaders and instructional leaders to enhance their personal and professional career. She also serves as chairwoman for the Instructional Leadership Program at Auburn University at Montgomery.

Sparks transitioned to higher education after 17 years in the K-12 public school system, where she served as principal, assistant principal, and New Teacher Mentoring Program coordinator and taught a variety of grade levels.

Sparks currently resides in Newnan, Georgia, with her husband and two children.