A few years ago I achieved my high school dream. I was teaching high school Biology and coaching the Boys Varsity lacrosse team. It was an amazing experience filled with forming rich relationships with my students and seeing the positive impact I could have on their lives inside and outside the classroom. My professional growth and teacher-leader experiences inspired me to take the next step into school leadership. I was accepted in the DOE’s Leaders in Education Apprenticeship Program (LEAP) and am now pursuing my next dream. The LEAP program transformed my thinking and allowed me to grow in ways I never knew were possible. As a student and as a teacher, I never truly appreciated the importance of school leaders. For a while I was content doing “my thing” in my classroom and felt lucky that my Administration did not micromanage our classrooms. However, I have come to realize that I was able to be successful as a student and as a teacher due to the conditions set by school leaders. The culture and climate of the school building is set by the expectations and modeling of the school leaders. In my current role, one of the biggest lessons I have learned is the importance of positive relationships, transparency of thinking, and consistency in the message you communicate to others. These three ideas together build trust between people, which is needed to shift thinking and move practice. Essentially, I see the role of a school leader as a direct support for school staff to improve student achievement and outcomes.
I currently serve the DeWitt Clinton Community as the Assistant Principal Supervision of Science. During this year I worked collaboratively with the leadership cabinet and Community based organizations such as Good Shepherd Services to use data to inform decisions about school initiatives to make the climate better suited for gains in student achievement. I believe that school leadership is an essential cog that must be coordinated with all stakeholders including teachers, school staff, families, the community and the student. I believe that only when all stakeholders are working together to make decisions based on what is best for our students, will we be able to close the achievement gap and drive student achievement to higher levels.
We are all educators because we care about the future and care about the students that will ultimately become the next generation of world leaders. Cultivating the minds of the future is a huge responsibility. I believe that I am qualified to be an excellent school leader because I understand that at the end of the day, being a school leader is about forming and maintaining relationships with all stakeholders in the school’s community, staying grounded in your core values, and always remaining centered on the idea of making decisions based on what is best for our students.