The natural trajectory of the path to leadership in education is traditional. Most teachers transition to a campus curriculum position and then to an assistant principal. From assistant principal, many naturally move up to become a principal. When I was a graduate student, the courses aligned with this traditional path, and I believed that was the path I would follow as well.
At the time, I held a dyslexia teaching position and was being groomed at my campus to become an assistant principal. Toward the end of graduate school, I decided to continue to doctoral school. There was no doubt in my mind that I would proceed with my education at UMHB. One awesome caveat about UMHB is that the principal certification is included in the graduate degree, and the doctoral degree encompasses the superintendent certification. So, while in both graduate school and doctoral school, I was also working on certification. UMHB was all I knew and was a big part of my life. At that time, UMHB had a doctoral schedule requiring doctoral students to take one Friday off per month for classes. Direct supervisors had to sign a document stating that they knew and approved the employee to have the time off. This requirement was not an issue for me. I had more than enough days accumulated to take time off. This was the perfect time in my life to begin doctoral school. When I explained the requirements to the instructional leader on the campus, they were not supportive because of the schedule. In short, it was evident that I would not be an assistant principal since I would need to be out one Friday per month. I was devastated.
I contacted one of my UMHB professors on my Master of Education graduation day. He stated that if I was told no, I was asking the wrong person. This advice made me realize many things. I had to rethink and refocus my future. I had to ask myself where my true interests lie. I had to determine what footprint I wanted to leave in the legacy of education. After much prayer and soul searching, I realized that I wanted my focus in education to support students with dyslexia. After graduation, God showed me a new path when my district opened a new position, District Assessor. This position would allow me to assess students for dyslexia full-time. It would let me be a part of the legacy that I want to leave. I applied and got the job. This position allowed me to get district-level experience as well. I soon realized that I loved supporting campuses and being at the district level. I began looking for other positions within the district level for upward mobility. I noticed that most of the positions required campus administration experience. Once again, by the grace of God, my district opened another new position. This position was Campus Facilitator. This position allowed me to facilitate 504 and ARD (admission, review and dismissal) meetings for students, including those with dyslexia. Even though it was hard to leave the district position, God told me I would return to a district position, and I believed it. The new position was perfect because it gave me campus leadership experience. I needed that experience to move up.
After two years in the campus position, I knew I needed to return to a district position. I completed my doctoral degree. After job searching in my district, I found nothing that truly interested me. I was asked to apply for a few positions that fell through. As loyal as I was to my district, I thought back to the advice from my professor at UMHB and decided to look outside my district, and found one in a neighboring district that piqued my interest. This position would allow me to return to assessment. It was challenging. I had some experience but would have to learn a lot quickly. This job is my current position, Coordinator of Assessment and Data Management. I didn't realize it then, but being told "no" for an assistant principal position was the best thing that ever happened to me. Being told no made me just uncomfortable enough to do something about it. Being told no was the catalyst for my success. Being told no has heightened my faith in God.