Educational Leadership, 2009 cohort
Over the past year, I have studied the “Competing Policies, Theories and Research about Effective Approaches to Educating English Language Learners”. In essence, I am curious to learn how school leaders can create systems within their school and trainings for their staff to best educate ELLs.
After 19 years in high schools as a History teacher, department head and vice principal, I made a move to become an elementary principal last year. My friends and colleagues would point to that as a significant accomplishment. I would argue that becoming a principal and deciding to work with a different age group of children was the easy part! My school is a level III school and trying to turn it around is a far more difficult task! Hopefully in a year from now, I will have some good news to report!
What are your personal and professional hopes/goals for your PhD journey and beyond?
I really think there is a void when it comes to universally accepted best practices for ELL’s. I am thrilled my PhD and career have afforded me the opportunity to study in this area as I think there is a lot to be learned and there is a lot to offer. Given that in my school, our ELL population is the population of students with the lowest SES and the greatest needs, I am hopeful we can improve their educational experience and help to close the achievement gap.
Has a particular book, author or thinker inspired your educational thinking?
I am motivated by great leaders. Steve Jobs and Bill Belichick are great organizational leaders whom I admire. I often think about how they take complicated problems (electronic design, the game of football) and boil them down to two or three easy to understand goals for everyone in the organization to point to as their mission. Educators could learn a lot from them.
In our field, many of the people who inspire me are people I have had the pleasure to work with or meet in some capacity. Kim Marshall, Heidi Hayes Jacobs, and my advisor, Paul Naso all come to mind; I find each one motivational for different reasons. It is often that I become perplexed by a problem that I draw on something they have taught me to get me through.
Nationally, I am eager to see the outcomes of the work Geoffrey Canada is doing in 3, 4, 5 years from now. I like his approach and I believe if he gets positive outcomes, the way we view education, poverty, achievement gaps etc. potentially will all be turned on its head.