As a 2020 New Professionals Fellow, I’ve been eager to grow and step outside my comfort zone, while under the guidance of new colleagues, mentors, and leaders. Prior to my current role as CTE Coordinator for Baltimore County Public Schools, I was Supervisor for Technology and Engineering Education in BCPS, was a Graduate Research Assistant at Virginia Tech, and a Middle School Technology and Engineering Education teacher in Georgia. In less than 10 years, I transitioned from 1st year teacher, to Coordinator of CTE. A significant amount of leadership change.
Although much of my leadership journey has been deliberate, many of my transitions have been spontaneous, a product of timely opportunities, would lead many in leadership roles to imposter syndrome. My mentor shared a similar leadership journey, which I realize is more common, than not. In my initial meeting with my mentor, I become cognizant of the importance of networking and relationships; more importantly how mentors shape professional growth – including my own – through conversations that are often informal. As an avid reader on leadership, my mentor shared the importance of having discussions with colleagues of all walks of life, to learn from them, share ideas, and solicit feedback. This was an area of professional growth I needed to focus on and was a significant suggestion for our first meeting.
My mentor and I also discussed the upcoming ACTE Region 1 conference, and leadership opportunities within my local region. I had not given much thought to joining a committee, championing an initiative, or taking on a leadership role, but my mentor shared her experiences and how she has been able to manage her time and full-time position. She shared how the Region 1 community has grown in recent years, even discussing the transition my state has taken to be more active. I plan to attend my upcoming ACTE Region 1 conference and find opportunities to engage in activities that relate to my background, career interests, and initiatives I’m championing in my school system.
My mentor and I also discussed her professional development plan, and suggestions for crafting my own. One of the challenges I shared, was the success I had in becoming a CTE Coordinator, yet the path was not a specific goal I truly ever pursued. Thus, creating professional development plans, were going to be a bit more focused on specific leadership competencies and experiences I wanted to achieve while in my current role.