LUBBOCK, Texas – Those who know Ben and Cicely refer to them as one of Lubbock’s “power couples”, but they’re not the biggest fans of such a designation.
“Don’t be like me, be like Jesus,” said Cicely.
Cicely is executive principal of the Lubbock Partnership Network within Lubbock ISD.
Ben is executive director of the South Plains College Lubbock Center.
As you can tell, they are well-accomplished in the education field, but recently, the two noticed there was still something missing on their resumes.
“I think that often times Cicely and I, without even saying one thing to each other, we’re on the same page,” said Ben.
Ben decided to pursue his doctorate degree in business management at Wayland Baptist University. About a year later, Cicely decided to pursue her own in educational leadership at Texas Tech University.
“My research centered around whether training and providing professional development for teachers surrounding cultural relevancy and working with African-American students made a difference,” said Cicely.
“My approach was an applied research project wherein, I wanted to take what I’m currently doing in education or organizational leadership, and bring in effective communication in organizational cultures,” said Ben.
Contrary to what some might believe, the couple said the timing of their post-graduate journeys, were not planned.
“I started about a semester and a half before she did,” said Ben. “It just so happened that she caught up and we finished at the same time.”
In the spring of 2022, both Ben and Cicely received their respective doctorate degrees.
“During this journey of getting our doctorates, we chose to seize the moment,” said Cicely.
“Besides, we didn’t want the kids smarter than us,” laughed Ben.
The couple also has three children. Their oldest son, Ashton, is studying at Harvard University. Their only daughter, Adyson, is studying at Xavier University and they youngest son, Harrison, is preparing to enter high school as a freshman.
“So during the pandemic, we all had laptops, writing, doing homework,” said Cicely. “This process has been a family affair.”
The couple says the journey hasn’t been short of reminders that getting an education as a Black-American, is only possible because of those who came before them.
“They set a standard of hard work and opportunity that was earned which set the path for us to earn opportunities for ourselves and for our children,” said Ben. “Our parents labored to open up these doors.”
“We tell our kids all the time that so many people have paved the way, so you have no excuses,” said Cicely.
On top of receiving their doctorate degrees, the Alexanders also pastor the Holy Temple Church of God in Christ in Levelland.
“We were very much in prayer and just really walking by faith because if you think about it, the thought itself can be overwhelming,” said Ben. But if he’s ordering our steps, then he’s gonna make sure to see us all the way through.”
So while that “extra set of earned letters” at the end of their names show they’ve reached the highest level of academic achievement, Ben and Cicely believe, anyone can do it, just like them.
“One thing that’s beautiful about our story is that we are totally ordinary people,” said Cicely. “I think for a lot of people, a doctorate used to be a scary thing but we’ve made it very real, and very touchable.”