Dr. Angela Cox
Greenville County Schools
1.) Tell us about your role as an educator. What does your typical day look like?
After sixteen years of teaching in a traditional high school, I spend my day at one of the three Middle School Programs. During the week, I rotate to each program. I have to be mobile and very flexible during the week. I provide teachers support by offering professional development opportunities, conducting classroom observations, disaggregating data, mentoring, coaching, modeling research-based instructional strategies, and whatever else they need to be successful and drive student achievement. I am also the school test coordinator at each site. I train teachers, coordinate the testing schedule, and ensure all students participate in State Testing.
2.) What’s your education philosophy summed up in one sentence?
I believe that all students can be successful in a school environment where cultural relevant teaching is occurring and equipped with a school leader who is prepared to lead as a culturally competent leader.
3.) Why did you become an educator?
My passion for becoming an educator came from the joy of seeing how my parents helped others. I grew up with a mother that was an educator and minister and a father that was in law enforcement and a pastor of a church. I saw how they impacted and touched the lives of so many people. As a teenager, I began to teach Sunday school and work in the community. After receiving a degree in Business, I decided to go through the SC Critical Needs Program and pursue a career in education. I have no regrets of becoming an educator and love what I do!
4.) As an SCASCD Emerging Leader, how do you hope to have a greater effect on education in your community and beyond?
I want to continue to promote teaching and learning in the education community by sharing new ideas and pedagogical strategies that I learn from professional development opportunities. I would also like to network with influential educational leaders and aid reform in educational policies in regards to preparing teachers and school leaders in South Carolina to take cultural diversity or multicultural education courses as part of the curriculum for certification.
5.) What types of professional development (books, DVDs, webinars, courses) have made a difference in your career?
One of the principals that I used to work for had the entire faculty read "Good to Great" by Jim Collins. It is a great book about change and getting the right people on the bus. I have also ordered books from ASCD. In addition, I have attended the SCASA Innovative Ideas Institute on several occasions. It has always provided me a very rich amount of useful resources. SCASA uses innovative speakers to present new ideas.
6.) Was there a pivotal moment when you realized your career choice in education was the correct one? Describe that time.
My first teaching job was in a high poverty index and low socioeconomic high school in an urban neighborhood. After the second year, I wanted to quit or transfer to another school. It wasn't until I made a conscious effort to build relationships with the students and their parents that I realized I was making a difference. Students began to want to learn and be successful. I held high expectation for all of them!
7.) If you could make one major change in education, what would it be?
I recently completed my Ph.D. in Educational Leadership. My dissertation was on whether aspiring school leaders in principal preparation programs were receiving the needed knowledge, skills, and dispositions to succeed as leaders in culturally diverse schools. After this evaluation, I would change how school leaders are prepared. I feel it should be mandatory that they take courses in multicultural education and cultural diversity issues. This could help close the achievement gap.
8.) What is your most rewarding experience as an educator?
My most rewarding experience in education was to complete my Ph.D. in Educational Leadership. However, it is a rewarding experience when I see students out and about in the community that I have taught over the last sixteen years, and they tell me to thank you for being a great teacher.