Emerging Leaders

Why did you become an educator?

When I was in 5th grade, I helped a kindergarten class at lunch.  I opened milk cartons, ketchup packets, and even helped to cut up hot dogs.  Ashley was one of the kindergarteners, and she happened to have Down syndrome.  Despite this label, she was an innovative communicator (I finally realized that she would stick her tongue out a lot for big hot dog pieces and a little for small pieces) and a perceptive observer—she was the only child in that class who never confused me with my twin sister.  

Even as a 5th grader, I realized that I wanted to be a teacher to ensure that all students, especially students like Ashley, were seen for their potential, not superficial and limiting labels.

Matt Johnson

Becoming a Teacher Leader on Day One

 Let’s start with some essential questions to consider as you read:

  1. What makes you unique to your position?
  2. How do you implement your unique gifting into what you do each day?
  3. How does what you do influence others around you?

Two leadership quotes referenced in this post have been used many times by many people. So I am not sure who to reference, but please note, it wasn’t me.

As a classroom teacher, it wasn’t until my ninth year that I viewed myself as a leader. Over the course of those years, I have accepted many leadership responsibilities that have worked to support my journey and professional development. Recently, I reflected on the journey that led me to become a Teacher Leader.

Tell us about your role as an educator.  What does you typical day look like?

South Carolina ASCD member Cheryl Wilson is the second educator from South Carolina to be selected as one of ASCD's Class of 2015 Emerging Leaders. Cheryl serves as the Freshman Academy administrator at Eau Claire High School in Richland School District One. She also serves as Digital Learning Environment Coordinator, leading the district's 1:1 initiative by assisting teachers and students with on-site instructional technology integration.

I began my career as an English Teacher. Since then, I have served in several capacities from cheer coach to my current position as Freshman Academy Administrator. Along this journey, I have thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to see things from many angles in education.

Was there a pivotal moment when you realized your career choice in education was the correct one? Describe that time.

I knew from childhood that I wanted to be a teacher, mainly because the teachers I had were amazing and gave me the gift of loving to read and to write.  My parents prioritized our education and they were very proud of me when I was accepted into college.  Because of the opportunities my parents provided and the Grace of so many variables out of my control that worked to help me receive an education, I was able to be the first person in both of my families to go to college.  At first, my dad was concerned that I wanted to teach because he saw many opportunities for me in other fields.  He encouraged me to consider business.