Earl Simmons

Current Students

Earl Simmons

College of Education

D.M.A. in Musical Art - University of Oregon, OR
M.Ed. in Educational Administration and Supervision - Arizona State University, AZ
M.A. in Music Performance - University of California - Santa Barbara, CA
B.M. in Applied Music - University of California - Santa Barbara, CA

About Earl Simmons

Dr. Earl Simmons is a native of Arizona who grew up in Douglas on the U.S./Mexico border. International experiences have had a profound impact on his life. As a young boy he attended a bilingual mission. After graduating high school he spent six weeks in Croatia as a youth ambassador for the American Field Service before enrolling at Grand Canyon College. Gifted in languages, he speaks German and Italian and has also studied French, Spanish and Russian. He was a Rotary International Scholar at the Hochschule für Musik in Hamburg, Germany and a Fulbright Fellow in Padua, Italy where he began the research that culminated in his doctoral dissertation on vocal pedagogy at the University of Oregon.

Simmons holds vocal performance degrees from the University of California, Santa Barbara, where he began his teaching career and a MEd in Educational Administration from Arizona State. He has taught at public and private schools K-12, as well as both public and private universities. He served on the voice faculties of Grand Canyon and the Northwest Christian Universities. In addition he taught as an adjunct faculty member in the education area at Ottawa University.

For the past twelve years, Dr. Simmons has worked in Arizona public schools both as a music educator and a high school administrator. Much of his work has been in high need areas. As a high school assistant principal, he helped established a dropout prevention initiative that was recognized as an Exemplary Program by the Arizona Department of Education and the National Dropout Prevention Network at Clemson University. Over a three-year period, he and his team helped over two hundred at-risk youth earn a high school diploma.

Currently, he resides in Phoenix with his wife and daughters. He teaches music in the Alhambra Elementary District and his wife Lori is an Elementary Literacy Specialist. They are active in the music ministries of Phoenix First Assembly of God and All Saints' Episcopal Church, where he and his wife are members of the Chamber Choir. Simmons was recently a tenor soloist at the Arizona Bach Festival for their performance of the St. John Passion.

How has facilitating online courses at GCU helped you find your purpose?
Facilitating online education courses at GCU has helped me find my purpose of impacting the next generation of educational leaders. For the past three years, I have helped aspiring principals from all over the U.S. prepare to step into a formal, administrative role. I am amazed at the diverse backgrounds of the students with whom I work. They range from historians to Olympians and everything in between. Each of them brings unique experience and expertise to the program.

What is one effective teaching strategy you use in your online classes?
I believe that my most effective teaching strategy is relating course content to real-life leadership scenarios. I often incorporate discussion material that presents a real-world problem and ask my aspiring principals to explain how they would handle the situation. There is no "dress rehearsal" for facing your first crisis as a principal, but these scenarios offer a forum to analyze problems and consider potential outcomes in a controlled environment.

What is a GCU online student success story you can share?
Last year one of my students contacted me to let me know her daughter was in the hospital. I remembered the first year of my doctorate when our infant daughter was hospitalized. If my professors had not been flexible with me, I would never have completed my program. It felt great to extend the same support and flexibility to her that I received as a graduate student. Her daughter recovered, and she completed the course and remained in the program