LaQuana Aldridge

Midway Elementary School

 

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

 

Currently I am one third of an amazing administrative trio. In my role as Assistant Principal I am responsible for all matters pertaining to grades K-2. In August 2018 we will begin a 4-year-old Kindergarten program and I will be the administrator overseeing that grade level as well. A typical day for me begins and ends with dancing, hugs, and smiles thanks to the recent addition of kid-friendly music that plays as students enter and exit the building each day. I am a huge proponent of starting the day with upbeat music to uplift the soul and was fortunate to have a Principal who allowed me to test that vision with our students. Throughout the course of my day I attend various meetings, handle discipline issues, perform classroom observations, take phone calls, answer emails, and assist the other administrators as needed. My role also encompasses overseeing our cafeteria and housekeeping staff members, updating our social media accounts, working with our special needs staff, and attending and/or organizing site and off-site based professional development. My favorite parts of the day are going around to all K-2 classrooms to greet them and catching up with students during their lunch and recess times to discuss how their day is going. We are a culture of care at Midway and I take that aspect of my role very seriously.

 

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

 

All children deserve to feel as if one day they can change the world!

 

3.) Why did you become an educator?

 

When I came into education via alternate route 9 years ago I was satisfied by my former career but not “fulfilled.” I was looking for a career that would give my life purpose and help me feel as though I was truly changing the world for the better. I had always enjoyed previous experiences working with children of all ages so I decided to look into teaching and needless to say, I never looked back! Knowledge is a powerful tool. It is our role as educators to help students see that and understand how to use their knowledge to cement their role in society. I found my purpose through education and now it is my turn to help students find their purpose through education as well. 

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

 

Part of my educational philosophy is the belief that all students should have the opportunity to receive a quality education in order to become productive members of society. In order for that to occur, educators need to be willing to understand the whole child. It is my hope that the professional development, networking, and leadership opportunities I am exposed to as an Emerging Leader will afford me the opportunity to become more knowledgeable in Whole Child research in order to spread my philosophy to other educators within my community and beyond.    

 

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

 

I love to read so I will focus on a few of my favorite professional books: Hacking Leadership by Joe Sanfelippo and Tony Sinanis; The Principal’s Survival Guide by Susan Kessler, April Snodgrass, and Andrew Davis; The Principal Surviving & Thriving by Andrew Marotta; The Essential 55 by Ron Clark; The First Days of School by Harry & Rosemary Wong.

 

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

 

During my second year of teaching I taught 4th and 5th grade emotionally disturbed male students in a self-contained special education class. By the end of that year the boys performed higher on state standardized testing than in previous years. Two of them were even able to advance to middle school in a lower tiered special needs classroom, being placed more in the general education setting for the majority of their instruction. These were students who previous educators had decided would not amount to much. The amount of care I felt for helping those boys succeed made me realize just how much I needed to continue in the path of education.

 

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

 

All students, regardless of socioeconomic status, would receive an effective education from pre-kindergarten through 12th grade through the use of high quality resources and teachers.

 

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

 

I take pride in the relationships I have built with so many students and families throughout my career. Having students and parents who want to keep in touch with me throughout their lives because of the impact I had on their learning process or school environment is the most wonderful feeling in the world. The joy I have been able to bring to children simply by showing them that I care has been, and continues to be, the most rewarding experience of my educational career.

Eight Questions For SCASCD Emerging Leaders

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