Richland School District One
1.) Tell us about your role as an educator. What does your typical day look like?
I have the opportunity and pleasure of teaching students with disabilities on a daily basis. My typical day is rarely typical. Every moment is spent supporting each student’s individual needs. Their needs are met socially, emotionally, physically, and academically from the moment they arrive on campus until they are dismissed to go home. My students depend on me each day to bring the fire and passion which is required for them to have an appropriate public education. It is my pleasure to support and serve my students.
2.) What’s your education philosophy summed up in one sentence?
“The whole purpose of education is to turn MIRRORS into WINDOWS” - Sidney Harris
3.) Why did you become an educator?
I became an educator to provide a positive impact on children. I always felt that my gift to this world is the ability to be a calming and positive force in the lives of people. My fifth grade language arts/social studies teacher at Willow Drive Elementary school told me that she could see me working with children in the future. Her comment stuck with me for years. When the opportunity came for me to choose a discipline in college, special education felt like home.
4.) As an SCASCD Emerging Leader, how do you hope to have a greater effect on education in your community and beyond?
Working in a school with a very high poverty rate, our staff and students face many difficult situations each day. As an SCASCD Emerging Leader, I will always look at bigger systemic issues to support and educate for growth. I will advocate for collaborative problem-solving. I have learned that students behave appropriately when they can. For example, if a student is demonstrating problem behaviors, the function must be examined along with the lagging skills. As an Emerging Leader, I will emphasize targeting interventions in these areas as the surest key to success in Richland County and beyond.
5.) What types of professional development (books, DVDs, webinars, courses) have made a difference in your career?
Research to Practice Institute, Foundations of School Leadership Cohort, Leadership Enrichment and Development Cohort 12, The Energy Bus by Jon Gordon, Influencer by Joseph Genny and others.
6.) Was there a pivotal moment when you realized your career choice in education was the correct one? Describe that time.
The last full day of school during my first year of teaching. That year was a huge rush of excitement with lots of ups and downs (to say the least). I taught 19 students in a middle school self-contained classroom. To my knowledge, my first year was a disaster and I was ready for summer vacation. My pivotal moment came at bus dismal on the last day of school that year. My 8th grade students cried and hugged me! I knew right then that this was the correct decision.
7.) If you could make one major change in education, what would it be?
I would have a full time mental health counselor on every school campus. Childhood trauma is a real issue. Oppositional Defiance, anxiety, depression, and posttraumatic stress require the daily services of a certified mental health counselor. Our students would benefit from this major change in education.
8.) What is your most rewarding experience as an educator?
Inspiring my students and colleagues is the most rewarding experience I have had as an educator. It is fulfilling seeing students and other educators wanting to succeed because of the influence that I have on their lives.