Past Fellow Mentor Interview Blog

I consider myself blessed indeed to have been assigned to my mentor, Dr. Beyonka Wider! Our first conversation was like talking to a long-lost friend, like I had known her all my life! Dr.
Wider’s enthusiasm, excitement, and passion for all things CTE is absolutely contagious and is so refreshing.

So, let me tell you about my mentor! Dr. Wider is the CTE Coordinator for the Richland School District One in Columbia, SC and was part of the ACTE Fellowship in 2016. In one of our very first conversations, Dr. Wider described her role as the CTE Coordinator as taking care of her teachers, her principals, and her students. And I love that she describes her leadership style as that of a “Servant Leader, one who leads by example having integrity, passion, and a vision for attaining goals and objectives set forth that an organization. My leadership style embraces being a team player and values each and every member of the team, understanding that each person on the team has unique talents, skills, knowledge, and expertise to enhance the common vision, mission, and purpose to triumph success. This is so indicative of the giving sprit that Dr. Wider just exudes when you meet her!

Dr. Wider and I have in common that we both started teaching in schools that we attended. While I am teaching in the same classroom that I took Drafting in during high school, Dr. Wider taught just down the hall from her classroom. We also share the desire for the leadership roles in education, but neither of us has a desire to be an administrator or superintendent. It is all about the students, providing them with as many opportunities as possible, and preparing them for their futures.

We talk often. As I mentioned before, it is like I have found a long-lost friend with this pairing! We text each other several times per week. We talk by phone at least once per week, sometimes more depending on the week. We email and share things that we are each working on. And we try to zoom weekly, but if not, it is usually by-weekly. I truly enjoy our conversations and am thankful for the time that she takes to listen and encourage. I am also very much looking forward to the day I get to meet her in person! As I stated at the beginning, I do truly consider myself blessed to have Dr. Wider as my mentor!


Laura Smith

Region II Experienced Fellow