Deborah Bennett

Kelly Mill Med Pro Middle School

 

1.) Tell us about your role as an educator. What does your typical day look like?

Every day I get to empower and support students, teachers, and parents across our school by whatever is needed. That can change daily, but usually includes facilitating professional learning communities with curriculum conversations and data review, providing professional development, by observing and coaching teachers in their best practice use of AVID strategies and STEAMM integration for all students, or by assisting parents with instructional resources.  I work with the leadership team to determine next steps needed as we strive to become a school of excellence in academics and character development for all students.  I finish the day serving our school community as the director of our afterschool program.

2.)  What’s your education philosophy summed up in one sentence?

 

Our role as educators is to build relationships as we support and prepare all students for college, career, and life readiness and success in a global society on their pathways to purpose.

 

3.) Why did you become an educator?

 

My why as an educator is to serve and empower others.  As Curriculum Effectiveness Specialist, I like seeing students experience the joy and excitement of learning, teachers excited about using a new strategy or resource they received in a professional development session to support students, teachers collaborating and realizing the fruits of their interventions on student data,  parents empowered with information to help them assist their children, and teachers building confidence as aspiring leaders.  

4.) As an SCASCD Emerging Leader, how do you hope to have a greater effect on education in your community and beyond?

 

I hope that my experience as a SCASCD leader will allow me to empower others to reach their potential as the best version of themselves.   

 

5.) What types of professional development (books, DVDs, webinars, courses) have made a difference in your career?

 

I have experienced some awesome professional development.  I really loved my experience in the ESOL Time Summer Institute and my participation in AVID Summer Institutes because they provided a framework with strategies and tools to support all students,  time to practice and reflect on their implementation, and time to reflect on my biases.  Currently, I am reading Kafele’s Assistant Principal 50 Critical Questions for Meaningful Leadership and Professional Growth and Mattos and Buffram’s It’s About Time: Planning Interventions and Extensions in Secondary School which are providing opportunities for reflection and continuous growth. 

 

6.) Was there a pivotal moment when you realized your career choice in education was the correct one? Describe that time.   

 

When I was still in elementary school, I was the only one that was able to teach a neighbor to spell her name.  Both her teachers and parents were not able to teach her how to write her name.  I realized then that I had a gift I had to share with others and that I could make a difference.

 

7.) If you could make one major change in education, what would it be?

 

I would streamline the amount of curriculum that is expected to be taught during the course of the year to allow teachers to feel that they have more time to dive deeper into the curriculum.  I would also make sure that history curriculum portrays the experiences of all people.   

 

8.) What is your most rewarding experience as an educator?

 

The most rewarding experiences happen any time students, teachers or parents realize success.  I like helping others be the best versions of themselves.  I love the aha looks on students faces when they learn, teachers feeling success with new strategies, and when parents telling me that their sons never liked to read before they read the book we read in class and now they want to stay up to midnight to get the next book in the series or that because I helped them in math, they can help their child.  And, I love when students come back and connect later on.  These are all very rewarding.

Eight Questions For SCASCD Emerging Leaders

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