It is an honor to be an “educator”
Friday, January 17, 2020
by: Dr. Sarah Koligian

Section: From Contributors


by Dr. Sarah Koligian



Dr. Sarah Koligian has spent over 32 years in public education. She is currently Superintendent of Folsom Cordova Unified School District. Folsom Cordova USD is a district of approximately 21,000 students, 33 schools, and growing. It is located east of California’s State Capital, Sacramento, and encompasses the cities of Rancho Cordova and Folsom.
Dr. Sarah Koligian has spent over 32 years in public education. She is currently Superintendent of Folsom Cordova Unified School District. Folsom Cordova USD is a district of approximately 21,000 students, 33 schools, and growing. It is located east of California’s state capital, Sacramento, and encompasses the cities of Rancho Cordova and Folsom.

Education has always played a major role in my life. From the time I was a child, I loved school and learning. I had wonderful teachers who I remember to this day. Their impact left such a lasting impression that I desired to become an educator in my adult life. I loved teaching elementary school, and later in my career I also had the opportunity to teach college students and adults. However, as a young adult, I thought my trajectory would be working in the business world, as my undergraduate degree was in Business Administration. But the yearning to teach children and the desire to give back to others the way that role-models had given to me were the life-changing catalysts that redirected my career path.

I was living my dream as a resource teacher at Madison Elementary School and enjoying teaching second-language learners and struggling readers. It wasn't until my principal tapped me on the shoulder that my career path evolved again — this time into administration, which eventually led to pursuing my first superintendent position. I didn’t initially think I would enjoy leaving my classroom, but what I learned each time I pursued a new role in education was that my classroom continued to expand, from one classroom, to many classrooms, then to many schools within a district, touching the lives of many students, staff, and families. Each experience has been a blessing in my life.

The Power of Positive Relationships

As educators, we are entrusted with the most precious resource there is in this world — our children. I take that responsibility very seriously, knowing that each child who walks through our doors deserves an equitable opportunity to learn and to be equipped with skills that prepare them for taking their next step in life.

To help foster positive outcomes for students, relationships are key, whether you are working with students, staff, families, or a community.  I have learned the importance of being inquisitive and discovering one’s values — or their “glows” and “grows," also known as accomplishments and challenges. As a parent of four grown children, I remember teachers, coaches, counselors, and administrators who took a sincere interest in my children’s lives and the positive impact those relationships had in molding them into the successful and confident adults they are today. Those powerful connections foster the ability to build trust and eventually a greater support system for our children.

The Power of a Caring Adult

To best meet the academic, social and emotional well-being of all of our students, it takes our children’s first teachers — their parents — working alongside the caring adults within our schools to help our students overcome the many barriers they face and to become their best self while under our care. Creating a nurturing environment for our children varies greatly depending on each child’s needs. Education can and should be very precise in the sense that the educational team diagnoses each child’s needs and provides an individualized educational regimen to empower each child to succeed. Modern pressures are taking a toll on the emotional wellness of young people today. Folsom Cordova, like so many districts, are committed to doing all they can to create schools that are both physically and emotionally safe for all students

The Power of a Growth Mindset

I believe that educators must continue to hone their skill sets to best equip our adults and children for an ever-changing global society. To do so requires a mindset that acknowledges that we don’t know everything and that we are willing to grow and stretch our mental landscapes to best meet our student’s needs.

We must also build the capacity of our leaders, myself included, by engaging in growth learning opportunities together. Engaging in book studies as a leadership team has been an essential tool. We have read and studied books such as “Heart," “Multiplier Effect," and “Overcoming Overwhelm."

We also engage in developing our skills through ongoing learning around Professional Learning Communities, Cultural Responsiveness, and Outward Mindset pedagogies. After all, we are in the profession of education, and as role models we can do no less than to continue to sharpen our skills to best meet the ever-evolving needs of our students.

In summary, it is an honor to be an “educator," especially in today’s classrooms and schools. The job is enormous and is not for the faint of heart. It requires an ever-evolving academic skill set, a compassionate heart, and the willingness to work as a team to build relationships with each other and with our students to help create a future of successful and confident adults.
Post a Comment

Name
Email
Comment