I love pizza. I have a magnet on my fridge that proclaims, “Life without pizza is no life at all.” Magnetic hyperbole or not, the fact remains, I would eat pizza a couple times a day and the cold leftovers for breakfast. Pepperoni & mushroom is the ol’ stand-by, but I once had a pizza with clams & jalapenos that I still dream about. This preoccupation might have something to do with both my waistline and this doodle I did when learning about interviewing and what interviewers are interested in learning from candidates:
My thought process, influence, and relationship ability show how I will get the job done, and they help determine fit. “What kind of pizza am I? Am I tasty?” Those are the things that make me unique. I just have to “hit the spot.” Any candidate for the assistant principal and principal jobs I am seeking will have similar crust (drive, values, & work style), but they won’t all answer this question:
“Please provide an overview of your professional experiences, describing the experiences that you feel have prepared you for success in this role and have helped to craft your vision for school leadership.”
My professional experiences have led me, more and more, to refine this vision for school leadership: As a leader, I create the conditions and circumstances in my school that allow teachers to serve students. We serve the whole student by educating and doing what is best for them.
Having started in education as a school counselor in Chicago at a Catholic school for at-risk, urban youth, I pride myself on continuing to use that school’s mission to “serve the hearts and minds of students” as a guiding principle to this day. I am whole-student-centered, and that has helped me in my work as an administrator wherever I have been.
My first assistant principal position was in rural North Carolina. I successfully navigated the change in type of student and in my role by relying on my strengths in relationship building, student-centered principles, and desire to grow as an educator. I was part of a great administrative team that collaborated well. We also all had different strengths that made our “unit” work. I learned the importance of poise, I got organized, and I fell in love with working with students in the middle grades.
In my current position, I have been lucky enough to work with a principal who sees me as an equal–as a co-principal. We have worked together to ensure we make intentional decisions using data, that we communicate consistently, that we are transparent and accessible, and that teachers get what they need in order to best serve students. I have learned to think of my background as a school counselor as a strength in how I teach teachers–especially in these days of increased student anxiety and depression.
In any field I have worked in, I have always been driven to and achieved positions of influence and leadership. I think being a principal is the most rewarding position, and I hope that my legacy as a school leader is that I was in it for the students and that I did right by the staff.
All that is my “topping.” I’m not sure if it’s pepperoni & mushrooms or clams & jalapenos, but I hope it will satisfy someone’s craving soon.