Greenville County Schools
1.) Tell us about your role as an educator. What does your typical day look like?
My role is to provide leadership for the continued development, analysis, and monitoring of long range plans for improving the secondary ELA educational program in Greenville County Schools.My duties include:
ensuring the implementation, promotion, and delivery of the secondary ELA curriculum as aligned to the South Carolina College and Career Ready Standards.
providing leadership in articulating the vertical and horizontal ELA curriculum.
defining professional development for instructional personnel in support of disciplinary literacy.
monitoring student achievement data to make recommendations and to direct or re-direct instructional practices for continues improvement in student achievement.
observing and supporting teachers directly in the classroom through modeling and coaching effective disciplinary literacy and instructional practices.
engaging teachers in collaborative planning, research, and curriculum development.
On days that I am at schools, I quickly meet with an administrator to debrief classroom observations. The administrator shares student and teachers successes and areas of concerns. After that, I observe classes of teachers I am supporting and engage teachers in coaching conversations. The observations are focused on the defined goals established within the coaching impact cycle. The continuous cycles includes identifying a desired impact and determining how to address it, implementing the plan, evaluating the plan’s successfulness, and reflecting on student and teacher moves. I end the day with professional reading and establishing the next day’s to-do list.
2.) What’s your education philosophy summed up in one sentence?
The place of education is to help students find their voice and passion so that they can serve as a positive change-agent in the world.
3.) Why did you become an educator?
From a very young age, my parents preached that education was my ticket out of the small town in which I was raised. As I matured, I began to see education as my ticket to some place – a place in which I could use my love for learning and overall curiosity to reach the masses. I became an educator to support students as they learn to think critically, take risks, and step forward to advocate for positive change in the area in which they are passionate.
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 collaborate with other leaders on how we might attract quality educators into the profession who are passionate about student success and educator effectiveness. A goal is to develop and implement a plan to showcase our educator heroes in order to show our communities how we define a good educator and how we support teachers as they develop.
5.) What types of professional development (books, DVDs, webinars, courses) have made a difference in your career?
There are several books, conferences, and courses that have shaped my thinking. Those include:
The Understanding by Design by McTighe and Wiggins (book)
Professional Learning Communities at Work (conference)
Visible Learning Conference and John Hattie’s research
Disciplinary Literary (course)
Student-Centered Coaching by Diane Sweeney (book)
I must add that my job itself has been the best professional development over the last four years. I am fortunate to work closely with 25 other master educators as we wrestle with how to move our district forward and how to best support and coach teachers to impact student achievement.
6.) Was there a pivotal moment when you realized your career choice in education was the correct one? Describe that time.
I first me K. M. as a sixth grader. She was a studious child but in many ways very insecure. The oldest child of a single parent household, she was quite responsible and comfortable helping other people. Still, she craved attention and a sense of belonging. As I began to encourage and stretch her academically and encourage healthy social risk-taking, K.M. blossomed. By the end of the school year, Kelsey was not only one of my strongest students, she also found her voice as the co-editor of the school newspaper. Working with K.M. confirmed that I had chosen the right career. I was so much like Kelsey as a sixth grader, and a teacher invited me to be great. I was able to do that for Kelsey and countless others.
7.) If you could make one major change in education, what would it be?
One change I would like to see in education is a re-focus on students. In this era of high accountability, the focus is on standards and assessments. Although well intentioned, we have lost focus on our students in our mad scramble to be the best.
8.) What is your most rewarding experience as an educator?
My most rewarding experiences as an educator have been hearing students talk about how a story or article they read intrigued them and led them to dig deeper into a topic. Curiosity excited me.