Rebecca L. Walden
Future Educational Leader
Who am I?
I am an educator, first and foremost, having taught for 16 years at Londonderry Middle School in Londonderry, NH. I graduated from Keene State College in 1998 with a BS in Elementary Education and Special Education. In my years at LMS, I obtained my Reading Specialist certificate, and taught 6th, 7th, and 8th grade reading for ten years. For the past 6 years, I have taught 6th grade Social Studies and am currently working on completing my Masters in Education with a focus on Curriculum and Instruction at Rivier University in Nashua, NH.
Londonderry Middle School
Click here to read about the philosophy and objectives established by LMS!.
Mrs. Walden's Website at Weebly
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The Tsunami Team at LMS
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My Philosophy as an Educator
As a teacher, I believe it is my responsibility to promote a sense of lifelong learning in each of my students. It is my duty to provide a safe, nurturing environment in which the children under my tuteledge receive guidance, feedback, support and challenges that will best help them reach their goals.
The Move from Classroom Teacher to Administrator...
After having taught for 16 years in the classroom, it is about time for a change. While I have no desire at this point to be a principal, I have a deep love for curriculum and have started on my journey towards becoming a Curriculum Coordinator. I see the importance of all teachers in all content areas working together to instill in their students that their education is a big picture...the work they do in each class is all connected and it is this sense of connection that prepares them for life in the real world. It is the job of a Curriculum Coordinator to not only align the curriculum to the Common Core State Standards, but to ensure all students are receiving 21st Century skills instruction across the content areas. Most importantly, a Curriculum Coordinator serves as the most important support to their teachers.
What is the Role of a Curriculum Coordinator?
In speaking with the current curriculum coordinator at Londonderry Middle School, I wanted to get a better idea of what the responsibilities are for this leadership position. As you will see, this is by no means a small job!
The Job Responsibilities for the Curriculum Coordinator at LMS include:
1. Oversee all curriculum decisions
2. Create and manage a strategic plan on curriculum
3. Approve student placements in classes
4. Budgetary responsibilities, including technology requests, department purchases, overseeing summer curriculum days and payment
5. Reviewing staff goals
6. Staff evaluations and weekly walk-throughs
7. Oversee transitions of students (5th to 6th and 8th to 10th)
8. Oversee Big Buddy Program and summer school
9. Oversee creation and implementation and data collection from common assessments
10. Plan professional development for staff
11. Implement districts initiatives (ie. common assessments, literacy, PLC's, math reform, CCSS)
12. Implement all state, federal and IOWA testing
13. Collaborate on curriculum and instruction decisions with SPED, EH Programs, Library Media Specialists, Guidance, IT, Assistant Principal and high school administrators)
14. Various after schoolhours meetings (14 department meetings to plan and run, technology committee meetings to plan and run, literacy committee meetings to plan and run, attend monthly C3 district meetings, attend and present at school board meetings, and attend CIA monthly meetings)
15. Run 2 RTI teams
16. Attend weekly administrative team meetings
17. Attend IEP and other parent meetings
18. Lunch Duty and Bus Duty daily
What Kind of a Leader am I?
After much thought and consideration, I have come to the conclusion that I can best describe my personal leadership style as that of a distributive leader. A distributive leader is one that sees the value in the interactions amongst the entire school community...from principals, to teachers, to aides to students and in turn encourages all school community members to work together to gain the best possible output for all.
"A distributed perspective on leadership acknowledges the work of all individuals who contribute to leadership practice, whether or not they are formally designated or defined as leaders." (Harris and Spillane, 2008) I see the value in forming committees of teachers and other staff members, to tackle new demands in terms of curriculum redesign (most recently, the CCSS). Doesn't it make the most sense that the ones designing the curriculum are the ones teaching it?
As a leader in the role of curriculum coordinator, I see the importance in maintaining an "open door" policy. My faculty needs to know that I am there for them 100% of the time and that I will always have their back. I am well aware that there are times in which I will have to fight the fight with the "guys across the street", but this is crucial to gaining the trust of my teachers. I have to have their backs, and they need to trust that I will in order for them to take risks in their tecahing.
I feel as a leader, it is important to always remember what it was like to be in the "trenches"...to not lose touch with reality and what the classroom teacher faces on a daily basis. I aim to be a leader that is involved; one that goes into classrooms, interacts with the students and finds out what is going on, what is working well, and what is not working so well. My teachers need to see this support systen in place and feel comfortabke coming to me with ideas and concerns.
In giving my teachers a voice, I need to be a listener. I need to hear all sides of every story. This is again where the distributive leader qualities come back into play. Delegating tasks is huge in a position as big as curriculum coordinator. I need to trust that my staff can develop curriculum maps, that they can align their curriculum, and that they can continue to stay abreast of the latest advances in the world of education. I need to share these responsibilities and work together with my teaching staff to best meet everyone's needs.
The role of any leader is an ever-evolving job. I need to be open to change, to educating myself and to sharing my findings with my staff. As a leader, I want to inspire. I want to inspire those working with me to put their best foot forward and work together for the good of the students in our care. I want to form strong relationships with my fellow administrators, teaching staff, building personnel, students and the community as a whole. I have a vision for a school that functions as a cohesive group, a vision I know can come to fruition with the right leadership in place.
Read More About Distributive Leadership
What Kind of a Leader Are You?