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Reflective Essay

It is difficult to believe that two years have passed since my journal into the Education

Special Program at Oakland University. It’s funny how life takes dips and turns, but ultimately

with planning and purpose you end up in a place that is a good fit. That is my sentiment about

this program.

Teaching is a second career for me, although I have been in the profession 10 years,

there has always been this nagging feeling that I didn’t quite know as much as “seasoned”

teachers. I attended a rigorous program at a local university to obtain my teaching certificate

and Master of Arts in Education. As a teacher of students with disabilities, not being in the

general education population fueled that self-doubt about my ultimate goal to become an

administrator in a K-12 setting.

My pre-survey for this program reflected my hesitancy. In the area of School Vision, my

scores were primarily in the development range; School Culture was rated as primarily

proficient. School Management, Organization, Operations and Resources was primarily

development and beginning phases. My strongest areas in the beginning of the program was in

the area that I have always felt strong, Collaboration with Faculty, Community Members and

Family. Ethics and School Success ranged from developing to a few areas of proficiency.

The first class seemed overwhelming. It had been sometime since I had been in school

and quite frankly, after my Master’s degree was somewhat burnt-out. My first professor was a

former principal and was savvy and smart and put us at ease. She helped us to understand the

requirements of our program. I was suddenly re-energized.

One of the most rewarding aspects of our program was the ability to learn to be a leader

on the job with a carefully selected mentor. My mentor just happened to be one of the best

principals that I have ever worked for. The best part about her is her confidence in me as a

leader. I had thoughts of Eliza Doolittle and becoming a princess because of the high

expectations of Professor Higgins. She too had doubts about her abilities. The more my

mentored provided me with opportunities to lead, the more confident I became.

To support my confidence was the quality of professors that we had in our program.

They were all former principals and one superintendent that stretched all of us in our School

Finance course. I believe the in-depth knowledge of school operations; culture and student

success from our teachers provided a good mix of theory and practical leadership knowledge.

As I reviewed my post ELCC survey results, I am quite confident in my ability to lead.

Leveraging my skills as a former change management consultant and facilitator was evident in

my successful coursework and internship.The actual results now range from proficient to

exemplary in all categories.

My application of the leadership knowledge, skills and experience has been immediate.

I was voted Vice President of the Pontiac Teachers Association, part of the district’s negotiating

team. I am on the leadership team at my school and also President of the coordination council.

I have embraced my ability with both confidence and humility. I know that there is much more

practical knowledge I will gain as an administrator. Just as every classroom has a different

dynamic, I am aware that no matter where I go, I am able to make an assessment from a
leadership perspective. I will use the organizational framework concepts to help understand

the current state of any building from operations, process and most importantly, people.

The biggest assessment, however is determining the type of leadership skill that is

needed for the school community. My ability to understand myself and my role with

stakeholders in a school or district is to understand that they are customers. I am fortunate

that I have attended Oakland University’s Education Specialist program. It has been a

challenging, rigorous and fulfilling experience.