My Road to Leadership

Growing up, I knew that I would be someone who would have an impact on the world. I knew I was going to find a way to get educated, leave my small town, and make a difference in some way. At that time, I owed all of my motivation and aspirations to my teachers, so to me, they were the superheroes…and it made sense that I wanted to be one of them!

Fast forward to the start of my 5th year of teaching. I was perfectly content with teaching 3rd graders at my school. 3rd graders are particularly lovely because they understand a little bit more about life, but they still love their teacher unconditionally! I enjoyed teaching 3rd grade, and honestly, my finances did not lend themselves to being at a point where I could freely say, ok, let’s go back to school and do something more. However, I had people in my corner. And these people thought I needed to begin thinking about school administration.

I was moved from my classroom in October of that year, and put in a leadership position on campus. I loved that someone, or someone’s, believed in me enough to put their trust in me and promote me, but as I mentioned, I was not in a place to really begin to think about spending money to go back to school. And, this would be required for any additional movement up. Here was the great thing…I worked with and learned from some very resourceful people. We found a way to get me back to school, getting my master’s, without putting a financial burden on my family. You see, I have always been surrounded by some great women leaders!

I started back to school the same year we decided to build a house (during a major tropical storm, which is a whole other story), and when my daughter was making a transition to middle school, in a district she was not part of previously…without her mama…and this may sound silly, but this was a hard transition for her! Not an easy road back to studying and working, and…and…and! But I did it, without real intention of doing too much more in my career except maybe do a little something in curriculum. That would be pretty simple, right?

Well, one morning I woke up…and I woke up! I looked at my ex-husband as we were getting ready for the day and I said…ok, I want to be a principal. He looked back at me, unaffected, and responded, “ok”. I learned real quick I would be on my own in this venture, but I was ready to take on the world…and make this happen! It wasn’t easy, like I honestly thought it would be. I had to interview…which prior to now, had not done in my career. I had to deal with defeat, as I was turned down for 2 jobs…and that wasn’t my norm either. But, what was meant to be happened, and I got my first job in educational leadership.

I have now been on the path of campus administration for the last 16 years. I keep saying that I am ready for a change, but deep down, I love what I do. I love the impact I have on the students. I love the influence I have on my teachers. And, I love the fact that I have built now 3 different communities up to a point where they trust the school is going to take care of their children. However, it has not been an easy road…and it did not happen by accident. A lot of blood, sweat, and tears went into this job…and a lot of effects of the work on my personal life as well. Would I change anything, no! Would I have done this if someone had not nudged me in the right direction…I don’t know. But, what I do know is this…I was prepared well and supported well on my journey. I had the skillset, but needed the mindset to believe it could all happen. And, from the feedback I have received over the past 16 years, I have made the impact on the world I knew I could have made when I was a kid! That is beyond anything I really could have ever imagined!

My message to you this week is this…when you have the dream, go for it! You may not be ready today, but you will be one day! Find a great mentor, figure out a way to get the education you need, and believe that you can do the big thing you aspire to do! Believe me, if I can do it, you can too! Until next time! Cheri ❤️

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