Principal, Monitor Elementary in Springdale, Ark.
Named Arkansas Principal of the Year, 2008, by National Association of Elementary School Principals.
Now resides in: Springdale, Arkansas.
Degree: BA in Elementary Education, MA in Elementary School Counseling ('93), EdS in Educational Leadership (University of Arkansas).
How I got to Tech: I was a hometown girl and wanted to stay in my hometown community.
After graduating: I traveled for Kappa Delta Sorority as a Chapter Development Consultant and then began my teaching career at Hillcrest Elementary School in Ruston.
Why I chose education: It was just the perfect fit for me. I'd been teaching all of my life - beginning with my little sister and cousins, then gymnastics and swimming lessons, elementary school students, and now teachers, too. I just love teaching!
When and why I decided I needed to move from the classroom to administration: I really never made that decision and hope that in many ways I am still in the classroom, just a bigger one. I was teaching 2nd grade in Springdale when my assistant principal received a promotion to principal of another school in our district. My principal asked me if I would consider applying for the open position. I declined. A week later she asked again. I declined again because my life's goal was really to teach young children until I turned 80. A week later she asked a third time, encouraging me to consider the benefits of working with and making a difference in the lives of 600 children a year vs. a single classroom of 25. She said, "Try it and if you don't absolutely love administration, you can always go back into the classroom the next year." She was right. I absolutely loved it and still do 12 years later. Every morning when I wake up, I can't wait to get to work and do the best jobI can to support my students and their teachers.
What does a principal do that is different from the way I thought of principals when I was a student? Principals can and do have lots of fun with their students. It's OK for them to smile and laugh and play right along with them. I really enjoy getting to know each of my students on a personal level. I also had no idea how much work they had to do behind the scenes!
What's my favorite piece of Tech clothing I still have: My cap and gown. It is hanging in my office right now. I wear it from time to time around school as a reminder to my students of the importance of graduating from college and focusing on academic success. I also love to wear my Tech soccer T-shirt. We have a large soccer program at my school (12 teams last school year) and when I wear my Tech soccer T-shirt, the students think I played college soccer. Of course I didn't; Tech didn't even have a soccer program back in the late 80's.
Some of my best memories of Tech: The people - throughout my college years I was surrounded by great people, both students and teachers. And my sorority - my experience in Kappa Delta gave me lots of great experiences; there were certainly lots of fun times, but the leadership experiences I got have also had a great impact on my career.
Advice I'd offer incoming freshmen: Get involved in as many organizations as you can. Be an active member; run for office; volunteer for committees: these experiences are valuable long past college graduation. Go to class on time every day and sit in the front (or at least in the front half). Go above and beyond in every opportunity you get. Establish now the work habits you want your employers to see when you enter the workforce. I look for teachers to hire who can provide me evidence of ways they have gone above and beyond. I want teachers who are willing to take risks, show initiative, and the tenacity to get the job done, no matter how hard it is. A skimpy resume does not impress me!