TEACHING LEADERSHIP - Some might consider it paying it forward in a sense.
Dr. Deanna Miller, Fulton Independent’s Superintendent, has joined a statewide educational leadership organization. The seasoned educator won’t just be a member of the Kentucky Women in Education Leadership (KWEL), but she will also be serving in a mentoring role.
“I was asked by KWEL Director Nannette Johnston to mentor an ‘up and coming’ female educator who has a desire to work toward an executive leadership position,” Miller explained. “I agreed to participate and attend the KWEL conference.”
KWEL’s mission is to “create and maintain a community of professional leaders by promoting exemplary quality, equity and self-confidence through personal leadership growth, mentorship, and support in career advancement.” The organization also intends to provide enrichment, networking, encouragement and support for women entering, advancing or sustaining their work in education.
KWEL is not the first initiative of the Kentucky Association of School Administrators. According to a KWEL fact sheet, the organization will be “defining the future for women in public education while building on the foundation laid by the Kentucky Institute for Women in School Administration, which was KASA’s first women’s initiative in the 1980s and 1990s when few women held leadership positions in school districts.”
Miller attended the KWEL Conference on January 19-20 and found that her association with the organization will be a positive for her personally and professionally.
“I believe that being a member of KWEL will greatly benefit me as an education leader as I have and will continue to participate in professional development that will help me grow as a leader and that I can bring back to FIS to share with administrators and teachers,” Miller said. “I have already received professional development materials and training that I have shared with our professional development coordinator and we have a plan to train all FIS staff this summer on some of the materials that I received at the KWEL Conference.
“FIS will also benefit as I collaborate with women educational leaders from the Commonwealth,” Miller added. “I learn each time that I talk with these leaders and we share best practices from our districts. I have brought back a notebook filled with ideas and information as well as books for both students and teachers from this conference. I see the benefits continuing throughout the year for me personally, as an educational leader, as well as our FIS faculty and staff through professional growth, the sharing of information, and materials provided by the KWEL sponsors.
Miller has set three goals for herself while participating in KWEL.
“I intend to personally become a stronger leader in my school district. Fulton Independent School district’s students are my first concern in every activity that I participate in. I am continuously searching for ways to increase the success of my students and increase the opportunities that we can provide for them. In order for me to ensure that our students are receiving a quality education, I must strive to improve my leadership abilities daily. I am charged with leading the district in an effective manner that will ensure student growth and that takes ongoing practice on my part.”
The second goal Miller has set deals with educational growth.
“My second goal is to bring information to the administrators and teachers in the FIS district in order to grow each year as an educator,” Miller explained. “A strong teacher, in my opinion, is more valuable than any educational program that can be purchased.”
Miller’s final goal is to provide encouragement to other educators.
“My third goal for participating in the group is to encourage women educators across Kentucky to become leaders in their profession,” Miller said. “Although women dominate the employment market in Kentucky education with 78% of teachers being female, only 16% of superintendents in Kentucky are female. I want to be a part of an organization that encourages women to achieve their professional goals and provides the skills to build strong leaders for the education profession in our state.”
The January conference is the only formal solo group gathering the organization will have in 2018.
“We will communicate electronically throughout the year,” Miller explained. “KWEL will meet at other conferences where educators will be, but will not have more than one standalone meeting per year.”