For most of us No is the last thing we want to hear, especially as we progress through our career. In this, my twentieth year in education all the No’s led me to where I am today. I started my career in education in the very small town I grew up in, just about ten miles away from where I now live and work. I loved my small town and all the feels that came with it and I loved having the opportunity to teach in the very community that helped raise me. I was a first grade teacher and I loved teaching and working with my students and all the adults that came with it. By the start of my second year I knew I wanted to be an administrator, now this was a stretch because I didn’t come from a long line of educators at all, I was the first in my family to attend and complete college, but there was just something about administration that struck me. I applied to Texas A & M- Kingsville and was accepted and completed my master’s degree within a year and a half and obtained my certification not long after. I continued to teach, but just like most small town girls I thought the city held bigger and better opportunities, so I applied and started a very long career with one of the largest districts in the state.
During my time there I taught third grade, fourth grade, kindergarten through fifth grade for summer school and I was also a math specialist that serviced all students kindergarten through fifth grade with math support and I was an administrative intern as well. During my fourteen years with this district I was accepted into a leadership cohort that selected individuals that exhibited characteristics of blooming leaders. I learned so much throughout this semester-long program. With this program and my certification I just knew I was ready to move up and pursue my dream of becoming an administrator. Things didn’t go quite as I had planned, I was being interviewed but unfortunately was always coming in as the runner up on my interviews. To be exact, I was the runner up on eight vice principal interviews. This was a very hard pill to swallow, because with each of these denials I was never given an area to improve upon. I was always told, there wasn’t anything I needed to improve upon, just keep being myself and doing what I was doing and it would happen. Boy were they right, but I certainly wasn’t expecting what happened next. My husband Mike and I had built a house in the great small town of Lytle, that neighbored us growing up. Lytle reminded us of everything our small town was when we were little and we wanted to raise our kids there. Upon the completion of our home we registered our oldest daughter into the local youth volleyball program and that is where He stepped in. While at practice all the moms were super friendly, we’d chat and visit about work and so much more. The school where these ladies worked sounded like the place I wanted to be, but the chances of finding an administrative position mid year in Lytle ISD sounded impossible. After about a month in a half an assistant principal position was opened and you better believe I jumped at the opportunity. I was praying, lighting candles and just about standing on my head that this would not end up like all my other failed attempts. It didn’t, I received the call from Jammie Fewell officially offering me the position, tears of joy flowed and I couldn’t believe I was finally getting the chance to do what I’ve wanted to do for so long. I was now a Lytle Pirate and couldn’t be prouder! With this move the opportunities opened up and my capacity for growth and learning was more than I could have ever imagined.
Within a year and a half the principal position at my campus became open and my superintendent, Michelle Carroll Smith saw my qualifications, even though there were outside candidates, and chose me. Now in my second year as the proud principal at Lytle Primary in the amazing district of Lytle I have gained so much knowledge and experience. Through Lytle I’ve been able to gain an amazing partnership with CEN and gain great knowledge of the P-20 model. I’ve also been a part of the implementation process of our HQIM at my campus which included a visit by the TEA to see the phenomenal work that our teachers have done with this high quality curriculum. I’ve also been able to welcome superintendents from all over the US to see our campus in action for our high quality early learning program that takes place on my campus for our PreK 3’s through first grade.
I’ve never been happier and I’ve never worked with a better group of teachers and colleagues before, and I alway remind myself had it not been for all those No’s I wouldn’t be where I’m at today. If you’re reading this and you’re feeling like your chance will never present itself, just give it time and trust the process. He always knows better than we do and He will always put us in the right place at just the right time.