Dr. Donna McDaniel
Four States Living Tribute To Women
A mom, wife, daughter, “Mimi,” friend and leader, Dr. Donna McDaniel chooses to be a positive, loving individual who is focused on encouraging herself and others to maximize potential in one another. She shows enthusiasm for people and life, and makes a difference in the world by sharing the love of Christ through her daily life.
As the Vice President of Texarkana College, Dr. Donna McDaniel enjoys working with the deans, directors, leadership team, and other TC faculty that has really transformed the college and had great successes with the students. “I work with some amazing people who work so hard and have the attitude of ‘whatever it takes.’ They have a continuous improvement attitude that allows us to continue moving forward,” she says. “I am very proud to be a part of the TC family.”
Donna is a prime example of one who has followed her set goals and achieved them. Obtaining her Doctorate of Philosophy from Curtin University was a huge accomplishment in which Donna is very proud. “I never dreamed I would pursue a Ph.D.,” she explains. “With the encouragement from my family and constant pushing from James Henry Russell, I received my Ph.D. in October 2017.”
Donna is thankful for the many blessings she has received in life. She feels fortunate that she and her husband, Jason, have been able to play a role in the lives of their children: son, Warren, and his wife, Kaitlyn, and 1-year-old son, Witten; and son, Christopher. She is thankful for the support and encouragement her family has given her to always follow her dreams. Her parents, Don and Chris Moore, have always believed in her and encouraged her in all that she has done. As a leader, James Henry Russell has mentored and challenged her to “grow beyond what I ever dreamed.” His leadership and friendship has made her a better person.
“Since I have spent many extra hours working and attending community events as an educational leader for the past 17 years, I try to focus my volunteer/community service on organizations related to my family,” she says. “I currently volunteer at First Baptist Church DeKalb, DeKalb ISD, DeKalb Athletic Booster Club, and DeKalb Oktoberfest. In the past, I have volunteered at Texarkana ISD, Leadership Texarkana, Texarkana American Legion Baseball, Texarkana ISD Athletic Booster Club, and several other baseball organizations.”
Donna strives to follow this mantra daily: “Life is what you make it. Be happy.” She approaches life with a cup’s half-full mentality and works hard to always look on the bright side of things. Why? Because that is her personality, and “it makes life a lot more fun.”
The Way Dr. Catherine Howard sees her
Dr. Donna McDaniel is not only my boss, but also my very good friend, inspiring me every day to be a better person both professionally and personally. It’s not just me, most everybody she supervises feels the same way I do. In my experience, she meets all challenges with a fine analytical mind, attentive ears, and a wide-open heart. I admire her vision, intelligence, and ability to quickly assess problems and find real solutions. I admire her people skills making everyone who talks to her feel important and heard. And I admire her humility, deep kindness, and love for everyone. It seems to me that all of her interactions with others are grounded in respect for them as people and her wish for their good. She has helped form my leadership style giving me confidence and support and also made me a kinder, gentler person. Many changes, good and bad, have happened in my life since Donna came into it—the troubles at the college, the passing away of treasured coworkers, promotions to new positions, empty nest, the loss of my dad—I could
go on! Through all of it, Donna has been right there for me offering me whatever support I needed and much, much love. Mother Theresa said, “I am not sure exactly what heaven will be like, but I know that when we die and it comes time for God to judge us, He will not ask, ‘How many good things have you done in your life?’ rather He will ask, ‘How much love did you put into what you did?’” I know for Donna, the answer will be easy.
What is something unique about you that most people would not know?
“I starred in a few commercials while in college. Thank goodness for no social media back then!”
If you could have dinner with one person, famous or not, living or dead, real or fictional, with whom would it be?
“I would want to have dinner with my grandparents, Clifford and Pauline Warren and Gordon and Eva Moore. I never got to know them as an adult, and I would love to hear their wisdom now and let them know how much they meant to me.”
If you could travel to space, and it was free, would you go?
“Only if I could take my family!”
What music do you listen to in your vehicle?
“Pop and Christian contemporary.”
What did you imagine yourself being when you were growing up? “A lawyer. I can carry on a good debate, or so my friends say.”
What is the last gift you gave someone?
“A pocketknife with an engraving of ‘Happy Birthday 817.’ On March 26, my dad turned 81, my only grandson turned 1, and my youngest son turned 17.”
What is your favorite meal that you order regularly at a local establishment?
“I like to order 1/3 beef brisket with a side of cole slaw from Naaman’s BBQ.”
If there was a movie produced about your life, which actress would portray you?
“My husband says Julia Roberts! What a compliment!”