Saturday, September 29, 2018

Adventures Abound: A New Job!

I'm excited that I can officially announce my new position - Interim Director of Fine & Performing Arts for my district! Basically, this means that I am overseeing music, art, & theatre programming for 57 schools. It's a big job, but it's an exciting one as well!

Week #1

In my first week, I have really fluctuated between complete Impostor Syndrome (what am I doing here?!?) and confidence that I can, in fact, get the job done. All part for the course in a transition, I think! I'm still in the time where doing a "simple" task takes 5x as long, because I have to learn how to do it first. Throw in the fact that this position has been vacant since the beginning of the school year (although the previous director has stayed engaged in a few things to tide us over), and there is quite a backlog of work to be done. Slowly but surely, I'm trying to tackle the mountain.

Focus on What's Important

While it's easy to be overwhelmed by the tasks that need to be done, I'm also very cognizant of the fact that there are some "important, non-urgent" things that I need to make time for:
  • Proactively communicating with stakeholders
  • Going to schools to see what is actually happening
  • Advertising & sharing the great things going on in the arts programs
  • Connecting with my team in Instructional Services & Equity
  • Making sure I refresh and have some semblance of work/life balance


As I have started this week, I have been amazed at how different experiences have prepared me well for this job:
  • My years as a music teacher taught me what it is like to live day-to-day in the arts world! This gives me a huge amount of empathy for the teachers I am leading.
  • My time as a summer school leader, and summer camp director before that prepared me for being the one who leads, makes decisions, & sets the vision for a group of people, as well as dealing with the day-to-day realities of carrying out that vision.
  • My time as an ed tech specialist showed me how important it is to work things on a systems level, rather than solving each individual school or classroom on its own. This district perspective is extremely important!
Who knew, when I was doing all of those things, that they would lead me to where I am now?

What's Happening?

One of my first big goals was to send an anonymous survey out to teachers, asking the following questions:
  • What, in your opinion, are some of the greatest successes of your program?
  • What are some of the greatest challenges you are facing?
  • What kind of support do you hope for from the district level?
  • Anything else you want me to know?
This will help me determine what I need to focus on from my teachers' point of view. The responses so far have been incredibly helpful!

I also had the chance to get out and visit a few classes last week, which was so refreshing and fun! It helps me feel more connected to what is really happening in the district.

What's Next?

Thank you to everyone for continuing to follow my journey - it is an adventure, to be sure! I may be in a new role, but my passion and heart for kids & education is still the same, and I look forward to sharing new perspectives!

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