I believe that all students benefit when they plan early for their transition from secondary school. Strong, flexible plans based on appropriate information allow students to examine their interests, explore possibilities, and take action to turn dreams into reality. My personal philosophy is that career development and post secondary planning go hand in hand. I believe it’s no longer essential for students to make a career decision at 16 or 17 years old. I was fortunate; I knew from an early age that a career in education suited my personality and work values. More importantly, it’s important to help students reflect on what type of problems they want to solve.
Marian Wright Edelman, founder and president of the Children’s Defense Fund, says, “Education is for improving the lives of others and for leaving your community and world better than you found it”. I believe that I can help students take the steps to bring her sentiments to fruition.
I have more than 30 years experience in education ranging from a social studies teacher to a school counselor at the secondary level to the coordinator of the Rhode Island School Counseling Project (RISCP), a statewide school counseling program. One outcome of the RISCP was the development of the R.I. Framework for Comprehensive K-12 School Counseling Programs. I believe my education and experience benefits students as they plan their post secondary transition.
Working with students is my life’s purpose. As a social studies teacher, I enjoyed helping students make the connections between historical events and current events; history doesn’t happen in a vacuum. Just as importantly, I looked forward to chaperoning proms and other school events because it allowed me to get to know my students outside the classroom. I became a school counselor to honor the school counselors who guided me through secondary school. Later in my career, having the opportunity to assist practicing school counselors develop their programs let me continue to do work that benefited even more students. Now, I have come full circle as an independent educational consultant, providing a direct service to students that assists them with attaining their educational and career aspirations. More than anything, I aspire to be a champion for students like Rita Pierson, in one of my all-time favorite TED Talks.
Membership in professional organizations such as the Independent Educational Consultants Association (IECA), the Southern Association for College Admission Counseling (SACAC) and the National Career Development Association (NCDA) keep me current with the trends in the field by attending professional conferences and workshops, participating in webinars, reading professional journals, networking with colleagues and visiting college campuses.
Professional development is a major component of my life as an independent educational consultant. IECA recommends strongly that families ask IECs these 12 questions prior to hiring an IEC. Here’s a partial list of some of my learning adventures in recent months:
- Touring Grand Canyon University and Arizona State University during the IECA Professional Retreat.
- Participating in multiple webinars concerning the shifts in college admissions during COVID-19.
- Meeting virtually with admissions counselors from a variety of colleges.
- Attending monthly board meetings for IECA.
- Chairing the Ethics & Professional Practice Committee for the IECA.
- Attending weekly meetings for 1 Million Cups, a forum designed to empower entrepreneurs.
- Viewing monthly IECA webinars on topics to help IECS benefit their students.
- Attending regional virtual group meetings with other IECs to learn from and collaborate with each other.
- Presenting College Conversations via Facebook LIVE every Monday @ 7:00 pm.
- Teaching the master’s level Theories of Counseling, Spring 2020 for Providence College.
Oftentimes, I speak with my students about the value of giving back to your community. I’ve learned during my 30+ years in education that students observe your actions closer than you think they do. For me, it’s important that young people embrace what Dr. Maya Angelou describes as being “a rainbow in someone else’s cloud.” I hope to be an example to my students by showing up in our community in multiple ways such as:
- Serving as Chair of the Cumberland County Public Library and Information System Board of Trustees.
- Volunteering with the Chillax Teen Program at the East Regional Branch library.
- Participating in Operation Inasmuch’s Breakfast Program as a server.
- Conducting no-cost college and career readiness workshops in the community.
- Serving as a community partner with the GearUp Program at Fayetteville State University.
My hope is that students will give back to their communities by engaging in activities that create rainbows for others.
Take a moment to view pictures of the campuses I had the pleasure of touring and other events that enrich my life. Stay tuned for the rest of 2020