Lake Murray Elementary School
1.) Tell us about your role as an educator. What does your typical day look like?
It’s busy! I start and end every day opening car doors for students. This is the highlight of my day. I am able to greet students by name, as well as interact with parents. One of the things I love most about being a principal is the variety each day brings. My days consist of classroom visits, meeting with teachers, planning with other administrators, and learning alongside children. I spend much of my time building relationships with teachers, students, and parents. I firmly believe relationships are foundational to our school’s success.
2.) What’s your education philosophy summed up in one sentence?
If you can dream it, they can do it!
3.) Why did you become an educator?
I’ve always wanted to make a difference in my community and the lives of others. Joining the field of education seemed like a natural fit with my love of learning and desire to help others. As a child, school was always a happy place for me. I enjoyed learning and always felt empowered. My hope has always been to help children and families in the same way teachers did for me as a child.
4.) As an SCASCD Emerging Leader, how do you hope to have a greater effect on education in your community and beyond?
I hope to gain a better understanding of how educators can advocate for education in our community and state. I would love more opportunities to engage with legislators to discuss how we can work collectively and intentionally to improve education. I also hope to serve as a liaison between teachers and leaders of our state.
5.) What types of professional development (books, DVDs, webinars, courses) have made a difference in your career?
One of the most impactful professional development opportunities was attending an ASCD Conference last fall. Over the course of several days, I was able to fully immerse myself in professional conversation and learning. It was inspiring and so beneficial to my work as a school administrator.
I have also found professional learning communities on Facebook and Twitter to be quick ways to learn from other leaders across the country!
6.) Was there a pivotal moment when you realized your career choice in education was the correct one? Describe that time.
I can’t identify JUST one pivotal moment, but I can say that I’ve had this moment repeatedly...and it’s always at just the right time! Just a few examples include a special education child who was successfully mainstreamed into general education classes...and I helped. A struggling teacher who I partnered with an instructional coach and she has now changed her teaching practices to benefit all future classes...and I helped. Seeing a parent successfully seek supports and interventions to ensure their child is successful for years to come...and knowing I helped.
7.) If you could make one major change in education, what would it be?
I understand the need for accountability and standardization of education, but the amount of testing our students endure (and our teachers administer) dampens children’s love of learning and reduces teaching time for teachers. I would love to see a more sophisticated system for measuring student growth from year to year, based on the individual assessment of students rather than a “one test fits all” approach.
8.) What is your most rewarding experience as an educator?
Again, it’s hard to narrow this down. Watching a child finally master a skill, seeing students extend kindness towards one another, putting supports in place to help students be successful, and working with teachers and families to ensure a child succeeds are all amazing parts of this job. But, the most rewarding part of this job is seeing the pride in a child’s eyes when THEY finally feel successful (especially if it has been a struggle). That feeling of accomplishment is something that builds their confidence and encourages future success.