I am in my 12th year at Mound Westonka High School. I have taught in other school districts and I never felt empowered during my first year in other districts. When I interviewed at Westonka, I knew that this was where I wanted to be. No other district had teachers on the interview panel that were asking deep pedagogical and content based questions. It was apparent right away that Westonka was a school district that listened and valued its teachers’ inputs.
After joining this amazing district, I was immediately given opportunities to join leadership groups. The best part is that no one is expected to stay on a leadership group forever. The community only wants people in groups who are passionate about the group’s mission. I have been part of Technology Integration and Learning Team, Department leader, School Improvement Team, Link Crew Advisor, and so many more. It is hard to keep track.
My colleagues who are in these groups with me are just as passionate as I am about providing the best experience for students as possible. Being part of these groups is like being in college again. I get to engage in academic discussion, collect data, draw conclusions, and my favorite part, share our findings.
I recently was able to collaborate with a group of teachers from the high school. We created a lesson for the rest of the faculty that taught them about book study. It was an amazing experience. Our faculty LOVES to learn from each other! I felt energized to work with a small group to create an outstanding lesson on striving to become a master teacher.
My latest opportunity to share Mound Westonka High School’s innovation was at this year’s iNACOL Blended and Online Learning Summit in San Antonio, Texas. I worked with Kristin Wallace to create a personalized way for participants to learn about the three pillars of personalized learning. This means we created three lessons for each pillar. We had the participants create learner profiles and divide up into their preferred learning style. Participants were able to experience a personalized learning environment while learning about personalized learning.
When I reflect on my speaking and networking opportunities I have received in the last 12 years, I often ask myself, “how did this all happen?” It happens because Westonka empowers teachers to pursue leadership opportunities in educational passions. There is no other place I would rather work!
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