Kershaw County School District
1.) Tell us about your role as an educator. What does your typical day look like?
On any given day, I am in one of my district’s four middle schools, serving as the a middle level literacy and MTSS coach. In this role, I partner with teachers in coaching cycles to support teaching and learning, collaborate with instructional leaders in PLCs, and facilitate professional learning sessions that support our district’s instructional goals.
2.) What’s your education philosophy summed up in one sentence?
An educator has the power to love, inspire, influence, nurture, and believe in each and every student.
3.) Why did you become an educator?
My Teacher Cadet experience gave me the opportunity to connect with amazing teachers during my senior year of high school. I was welcomed into their classrooms and expertly guided through my first teaching experiences. I realized that my spirit was alive with passion and excitement in these moments. I knew it was for me! My calling was affirmed when I was awarded a Teaching Fellows scholarship to attend the University of South Carolina. I am proud to be a “homegrown” South Carolina educator!
4.) As an SCASCD Emerging Leader, how do you hope to have a greater effect on education in your community and beyond?
I never stop learning and growing, so I intend to gain as much as I can from this experience, and then let it inspire more service to my colleagues. In particular, I would like to find ways to elevate middle level education in my district and beyond. As an Emerging Leader, I am challenging myself to use this opportunity to promote the amazing work that educators do in the middle grades.
5.) What types of professional development (books, DVDs, webinars, courses) have made a difference in your career?
There is no doubt that one of the most inspiring professional development experiences of my career was participating in my district’s first ever Leadership Academy during the 2018-2019 school year. It was co-lead by Lesley Corner, Emerging Leader c/o 2018. We explored and nurtured our professional passions, and I learned so much about my potential to lead when serving teachers and students. Lesley’s enthusiasm and positivity inspired me to take the next step in my professional journey.
6.) Was there a pivotal moment when you realized your career choice in education was the correct one? Describe that time.
It is hard to pick one moment because I believe that when you are fulfilling your passion and using your gifts to serve others, there will be an abundance of moments- Aha’s, hugs, high-fives, celebration dances, and thank-you’s. These are the sweet reminders that I am doing what I was meant to do. Choosing education was the pivotal moment in my life.
7.) If you could make one major change in education, what would it be?
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, I would have responded that I would change the federal and state mandates that require so much testing. Now that the testing burden has been disrupted, I hope to see educators seize the opportunity to prove that our students will thrive with more reasonable assessment and accountability measures, not high-stakes mandates. I believe that teachers who are equipped with instructional power and the right resources will provide the best learning opportunities for all students.
8.) What is your most rewarding experience as an educator?
A few years ago, I received an opportunity to serve as a Lead Technology Instructor for my school district. It was the closest role to a technology coach we had, so I was excited to take a deep dive into growing and learning. I found that the more I supported my colleagues in strengthening their skills and knowledge, the more I felt a renewed passion in our collective work as a school and district and our future. My dedication to serving them became an important contribution and drove me to discover more opportunities to meet their needs. Along the way, I became a certified Google Educator (Levels 1 & 2) and developed one-day summer training sessions to help other educators start their Google Educator journey. I cherished the new relationships we built around integrating technology and growing as educators. The next step was pushing myself to earn my Google Trainer certification, a process that reminded me that setbacks and challenges are important steps to success. And becoming my district’s first Google Certified Trainer was a sweet success! The journey did not end there; as I stepped out of the classroom and into an instructional coach role this past year, I believe more and more in the power of collaboration and a spirit of growth and improvement. I hope that my journey has demonstrated this to others.