Degree/Year: Ed.S., Educational Leadership, 2003 and Doctorate, Educational Leadership 2007
Hometown: Birmingham, AL
Current Position: Director of Instruction, Homewood City SchoolsDescribe your journey from Samford to your current position: I have enjoyed a long and fruitful journey with Samford University. I was a part of Homewood's first administrative cohort in the late 1990s, a unique partnership with our school district and Samford in which teacher-leaders earned their administrative degree. That grounding experience - where I learned to analyze and process as a leader - brought me back to Samford for my EdS and doctoral degrees. Through the years, I have served as an adjunct in both the graduate program in instructional leadership and the secondary 5th year program.
What do you enjoy most about your work? My favorite part of my work now is in mentoring future leaders in my school district. It is deeply rewarding to see teachers with whom I have worked progress in their career to become the next generation of leadership in Homewood. In that way, I know that my work lives on after I move on.
Did you always know this is what you'd like to do? No, I assumed I would always stay in the classroom - never dreamed of having a doctorate and being in a leadership position. But I came to teach in Homewood during a time of rapid change, which I found very exciting. I threw myself into those changes as a teacher, which made instructional leadership a more natural transition for me down the road.
How did Samford prepare you for your career? Samford modeled in its program what good instructional leadership should be. It was collaborative, customer-focused, and data-driven. Samford taught me how to think critically when leading change or solving a multi-layered problem. Samford's instructional program was always research-based - but grounded in the practical. And at its core, Samford's program always instilled in me the knowledge that instructional leadership is people-centered.
What advice do you have for current students? Look for ways to make your learning concrete, specific, and applicable. If you're learning some abstract philosophical idea, apply it to what you're currently doing in your profession. Make your learning real, not just an idea in a book on a shelf.
What is your favorite Samford memory? Any class I took with Dr. Persall was always memorable and meaningful, for sure. Some of my best memories were as an adjunct professor when I knew that something we had done in class or in support of their doctoral writing had made a difference. As teachers, we love those light-bulb moments.
Looking ahead, what are your future plans? I'm finishing up my 27th year in Homewood Schools and, as always, am excited about the prospect of change - change within my school district, with new leaders and teachers coming on board. And change potentially for me as I continue to learn and grow as a leader. Who knows what tomorrow holds?