Way back in August 2011, I was hired to teach fourth grade at Wiley Elementary School in Urbana. This job, which came after three years of working as a substitute teacher in Champaign, Mahomet, and Urbana, was the fulfillment of a dream I had had since I was in fourth grade. For the past seven years, I have worked with hundreds of students, teaching, learning, leading, and guiding. Some days were full of joy and amazement, other days made me go home wondering where it had all gone wrong. There have been relationships formed that will stay with me forever; relationships with students, with coworkers, with families.
But there was another dream I had, too. As the result of some strong urging from friends and educators I greatly admired, I decided to pursue a path of school leadership. I received my Master of Education in Educational Administration degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in May 2016. For over two years, I applied for over 150 jobs with over 100 school districts, almost all of which were in Illinois. From February 17, 2016, to June 12, 2018, I was interviewed for over 35 leadership positions, including assistant principal, principal, technology integration specialist, and curriculum coordinator.
I recently read that the average school leader applies for 25 jobs, is interviewed for 5 of them, and gets offered 1. Apparently, I am above average.
Last week, I was offered the position of Curriculum Coordinator for 21st Century Learning with Freeport School District #145. After some discussion with my wife, I decided to accept, and the school board approved my appointment last night.
The stated goal of this position is to “provide leadership and coordination to produce an aligned and articulated instructional program in all core subject areas; to improve teaching and learning by providing leadership in curriculum development, curriculum design, professional development, instruction, and evaluation in all subject areas as it relates to the infusion of 21st Century Learning practices across the instructional system; provide staff with research-based best practices related to 21st century learning to sustain continuous improvements in curriculum, assessments, and teaching activities to ensure that every student has access to high quality instruction to meet or exceed the standards for college and career readiness.”
It was roughly eight years ago that I began blogging about my adventures in substituting. After a year, the adventures were in teaching fourth. What will my adventures in the 21st century hold? Only time will tell!