Dr. Fran Rogers
Greenville County Schools
1.) Tell us about your role as an educator. What does your typical day look like?
I currently serve as the Middle Level Academic Specialist for Greenville County Schools. I support all Greenville County middle-level educators in all content areas. From day-to-day, my role is different, as my role requires a multifaceted approach of support. I am given opportunities to engage with school administrators, instructional coaches, classroom teachers and other school personnel in many ways inclusive of, but not limited to, coaching cycles, PLC development, instructional planning, instructional leadership, and professional development. The needs at schools dictate the methods of support that I provide. On any given day, I may engage in a learning cohort in the morning, support teachers in coaching cycles during the afternoon, and return to the Central Office to plan diverse learning experiences for GCS educators after school hours. I love the challenge afforded by this position and am so blessed to have the opportunity to support the middle school teachers and administrators of Greenville County in so many ways.
2.) What’s your education philosophy summed up in one sentence?
All children have a right to a high-quality education where students are valued, experience success, and are prepared for real-world challenges.
3.) Why did you become an educator?
I wanted to become a nurse until my senior year in high school when I enrolled in the Service Learning program. My service learning assignment was in a 4-year old Pre-Kindergarten classroom alongside of veteran teacher, Betty Thompson. As a senior, I viewed the service learning class period as just that – a learning period during the school day. I would have never imagined the impact that the experience would have on my career choice. The service learning experience was so impactful that I decided to major in education and I applied for and secured the Teaching Fellows Scholarship that same year. The rest of the story is history, and I am moving forward in a rewarding and fulfilling career.
4.) As an SCASCD Emerging Leader, how do you hope to have a greater effect on education in your community and beyond?
Word of mouth and face-to-face contact have never lost their power, and as a SCASCD Emerging Leader, I intend to use that power to bring awareness to the beauties and challenges of our profession. I have a profound interest in bringing passion and excitement back to our amazing work through a variety of mediums: Recruiting more Education majors, engaging in education-based social media campaigns, providing impactful professional learning experiences, networking with existing and hopeful educators, and finding ways to invest in and celebrate current educators. Everything we do makes a ripple and I look forward to using the power of the word of mouth and face-to-face contact to create a large ripple for the educators in Greenville County and beyond.
5.) What types of professional development (books, DVDs, webinars, courses) have made a difference in your career?
I am blessed to say that I’ve been privy to many professional development opportunities. The most personally impactful professional development experiences have been coaching/learning cycles (as both the coach and the coaches), as well as grassroots, unconference-styled learning experiences. Learning in the moment is highly influential for me because I have context to which I can associate the learning. These methods are also important in piquing curiosity that activates the ‘need to know’ growth mindset part of the brain. Overall, authentic, relevant, and just-in-time learning opportunities have made the biggest difference in my career.
6.) Was there a pivotal moment when you realized your career choice in education was the correct one? Describe that time.
Every day, I know that I am created do this work and commit to a life of service as an educator. However, I think a defining moment regarding my career choice was when my gift of teaching was affirmed by my colleagues who selected me as Teacher of the Year. There was no doubt that I had special academic and social/emotional relationships with my students and their parents, but it was definitely a special accolade for other professionals to acknowledge my craft. The affirmation of my teaching craft reaching outside of the walls of my classroom was a pivotal moment in my career that stretched beyond my long-standing understanding of education as my professional purpose.
7.) If you could make one major change in education, what would it be?
If I could make one major change in education, it would an increased emphasis on the tenants of high-quality, core instruction. The impact of high-quality, core instruction is oftentimes lost amidst all of today’s added instructional bells and whistles. Bells and whistles only present problems when they replace the essential elements of high-quality, core instruction. Less is more, as the adage states, and a return to the critical tenants of high-impact instruction could have profound implications for today’s educators and students.
8.) What is your most rewarding experience as an educator?
I find it incredibly rewarding when students I have previously taught tell me that I made a difference in their lives. This long-term connection with students shows that our relationship was much bigger than a single year together in the classroom.