The trajectory of my career has been a journey filled with unexpected surprises, leading me to places I could have never anticipated or imagined. My purpose of bringing out the gifts in others while keeping kids at the heart of decision-making has always remained steadfast. However, every path I’ve walked has presented me with a collection of choices which have forced me to summon the momentum inside myself to take action and acknowledge that growth and comfort cannot coexist.
I have to admit that early on in my career, I found myself spending time dwelling on how things are supposed to be. I lived by more rules that were influenced by traditional norms and the ones I created for myself, striving to row towards a place of perfection, and waiting for the right moment to start something new. I told myself that the conditions needed to feel “right,” more trust needed to be established, or that I needed to strengthen my knowledge base so I could take action. However, the days of perseverating over shiny plans and methods have been long done. What I have learned, is that stepping into the mess of learning, focusing on priorities and outcomes, embracing what is actually in front of me, paying attention to what feels right, and letting life unfold is the key to moving towards where I am meant to be.
So I ask, how can leaders let go of preconceived expectations, embrace the transformative process of continuous learning and forge a path that aligns with where they are meant to be?
In the year 2021-2022, I embarked on my first administrative role as an assistant principal in a wonderful school district. From the moment I stepped into the building, I was greeted by kids and colleagues running up to me, knowing my name, and eager to share their excitement about the day ahead. It felt incredible to have an opportunity to be a part of something so much bigger than myself. I have never taken for granted that I was entrusted to lead, learn, and grow into a leadership role. With the support of an amazing principal who served as a role model during what was considered one of the hardest years in education, I dove headfirst into my role. I loved learning about the assistant principal role that is heavily rooted in student life, connecting with students, families, the administrative team, and fellow educators. There is something unbelievably special about being a building administrator. Every day you get to strengthen connections in close proximity to the people around you and make an impact on the hearts and minds of those you serve in the same place, every day. It’s like having a built-in family and a consistent place to call home. Of course, there are challenges and my biggest learning curve was understanding the day to day operations of a building and navigating safety protocols.
Building Bridges, Inspiring Growth
Just as I was hitting my stride as an assistant principal and feeling more confident in my ability to build relationships and drive instructional improvement, there was an opportunity to become the Director of Literacy K-12. At first, the idea of leaving behind the school community that had become so meaningful to me didn’t feel right. In one year, I had poured so much of myself into building relationships with students, teachers, and families, and I wasn’t sure I was ready to give that up. Nonetheless, the opportunity to make a broader impact on literacy instruction across the district and strengthen learning experiences for kids felt incredibly important. As I reflected on the bigger picture, I began to see my internal obstacle as a chance to open a door to a new path. Ultimately, I decided to take a leap of faith, embracing the new challenge set before me, even though it meant leaving behind a role that had come to feel so rewarding.
Navigating New Horizons
As I made the transition from assistant principal to the Director of Literacy K-12, I contemplated the approaches I would employ to establish myself in this new role. Learning about a new role, navigating new relationships, deciphering the dynamic of teams, and being visible in multiple settings will never be a simple task. The scope of my work that once lived inside one building had now broadened significantly, spanning across a K-12 continuum, necessitating a shift in my approach. I recognized that as I was making this shift in my role, it would come with many celebrations and obstacles I’d have to overcome. With this solid foundation and an expanded perspective, I have been able to fortify and enhance my goals as I transitioned into the role of Director of Literacy. These new goals seamlessly build upon the foundation set during my time as an assistant principal, allowing for a more comprehensive and impactful approach to promoting literacy within the district.
From Building to District Goals
Questions That Drive My Goals
Nurturing Leadership and Relationships: Fostering Growth in Literacy Education
How can I develop a strategic entry plan that prioritizes relationship-building, acknowledges current literacy practices, and identifies opportunities for enhancing literacy support?
Unleashing Evidence Informed Insights: Empowering Instruction for Student Achievement
How can I effectively analyze data and share it with buildings to drive instruction and improve literacy outcomes?
Cultivating Professional Learning Communities in Literacy Education: Inspiring Growth and Collaboration
How can I work closely with staff developers, teachers, administrators and ELA liaisons to enhance coaching approaches, develop curriculum materials, and provide professional learning opportunities?
Bridging Technology and Community: Engaging Partnerships in Literacy Education
How can I model the intentional use of technology in professional learning experiences and disseminate information related to literacy education?
Forging Growth Beyond Comfort
As you reflect on your educational journey, you will most likely recognize that your own path has never been perfectly paved. You too, may have created storybook professional narratives, allowing them to become blueprints for your journey. But along the way, those stories were rewritten as you discovered that you were destined for a different destination. When you come to a crossroads, the people on that path can serve as guiding lights and mentors, propelling you to a path of self-discovery. You are shaped by the mosaic of people you’ve learned from, each contributing their unique piece to the tapestry of your personal and professional growth. Each new opportunity, every opened door, has taught you the invaluable lesson that growth lies beyond the realm of comfort.
As I progress along my professional path as the Director of Literacy, I wholeheartedly dedicate myself to continuing to cultivate connections and strengthen my understanding of the ever-evolving literacy landscape that surrounds me, while bringing out the best in others. These actions will harness the inner momentum that propels me forward. Instead of allowing my own narratives to confine me, I will maintain an open mind and focus on moving towards where I am meant to be.