educational leadership project, i need your help

so this fall, i’ll be doing an independent study project on educational leadership in the k-12 sector of American schools

to avoid retyping something i’ve already written, here’s the proposal i submitted to the management department about my project:

For my independent study with the Management department, I plan to study leadership in the educational system. In this assessment, I plan to interview teachers, principles, and policy makers about what leadership means to them in their careers and within the world. I’d like to look at effective leadership styles utilized by educational leaders who encourage their students to discover their passions and have a deep love for learning. I feel that these leaders are the most effective, and I would like to discover where these talents are and how they can be spread across our educational arena in a much more broad way. I would like to discover what differences exist between America’s public, magnet, private, and other special interest schools. I believe that differing leadership approaches exist in each of these arenas and I would like to look at effective leadership in education from an analytical perspective. Are the teachers who ignite a passion for learning in their students trained to do so, or is it a natural talent? How can we create more of this talent? Do policy makers encourage or discourage this type of educational leadership? What can be, has been, or needs to be done about this?

I believe that educational systems should be invested in more, but I also believe that a surge of servant leadership needs to be applied to this system. Students need to be invested in by the leaders within education. Three key questions about this that I have are: Where does this happen? How does it happen? And ‘How can it happen more?’

I will research schools, talk with educational leaders and policy makers and look at the work that has already been done to answer these questions.

Educational leadership

Interview teachers/principles

Look at policy

Montessori=encouraging interests

Why dont we do that

How can we do that

How do the teachers/principles that do that do it

Talk to students

Special training?

Can you train that?

System should encourage servant leadership

Investment in students

Look at books on subject

if anyone has any resources that they think could help me with this project, please let me know because i want to try to gather as many sources as i can before the semester starts so i can hit the ground running on this project

college is ending soon-ish

i know i have a year left of school, well until may, but it’s gonna go SO fast and i don’ t know what i’m going to do afterwards.

i’m unnaturally comfortable with not knowing what i’ll be doing, but i find myself browsing graduate schools and various job program websites.
i’d like to be a guidance counselor eventually, preferably in middle or high school. i never want to work in an elementary school, it’s just not my zone.
the bridge really opened my eyes to education and low income/at risk students. i love that group. yes, there were difficulties, but i have a heart for the neglected students. students neglected by the system and ignored by those who can do anything for change.
i’ve found myself browsing Teach for America‘s website and i’ve also found myself considering looking at Education programs at Vanderbilt. i’m not really sure what i want to do, but i could see myself possibly teaching, but i don’t have an education major or minor nor do i know anything about educational teacher licensing. we had a Bridge orientation at KIPP Academy in Nashville which seemed pretty cool. it’s a charter school.
i just really want to do something awesome. i once wanted to be a business woman and was (still am) obsessed with the movie “Office Space,” but now i’m not content with that. i want to change people’s lives. i want to work with youth. i want to do something awesome for God and i want to be radically different from the status quo. i am not content simply working in corporate america. i, ideally, would love to work to fix the education systems of america, but i need valuable experience before i get to that point, so i’m trying to figure out where to start that journey…
not really sure, just throwing ideas around and seeing who shares their thoughts.
feel free to share thoughts/resources.


hosanna….hosanna…hosanna in the highest….

that song is currently stuck in my head. awesome song. i heard it for the first time at Passion 07. amazing conference as well..

i spent my last week working at a camp called Barefoot Republic in Scottsville, KY. ( ps. also check out the article in the Tennessean about it (Diversity camp shatters cultural barriers)

it was amazing. before going, i was very discouraged about it and wasn’t really feeling it because i just wanted to move and get all settled into my apartment and was just tired from the Bridge and just wanted to do nothing. i’m SOOO glad i got over myself and went and had such an amazing time. this was the first time i worked a camp and i’ll definitely go back to that camp and hopefully others as well. i was worried about sleeping in a cabin with a bunch of high school girls for a week but it was definitely one of my favorite weeks of the summer. along with another Kim, we were counselors for Cabin #5, les files rebelles (lady rebels in french) this week. Barefoot is a multicultural camp committed not only to the growth of teens in christ but to breaking cultural barriers and exposing a true tapestry of God‘s creation through people. we are all one in Christ and Barefoot desires to bring us all together as one at all times. it was such a beautiful experience to be able to bring so many cultures together. within our cabin, 2 of our girls were from western and central Africa, 2 girls from Mexico, girls from Green Hills, Brentwood, East Nashville, and Antioch. all in one cabin and after the initial ice breakers, they worked wonders together. before breakfast we would have our two Hispanic campers pray in Spanish and our Republic (cabin) name was in French. we learned about corn rows and one of the white girls rapped in our final presentation.

but all of the social aspects aside, God really worked this week at camp. I was worried at first because we didn’t all know each other at stuff, but this week was amazing. I saw girls being open and honest with not only each other but with themselves; the girls were really willing to be vulnerable and discuss real issues in their lives. my co-counselor and I bonded extremely well and i think the girls were able to see that and we had such unity (despite a few bumps) in our cabin.

the camp theme was “Rebel With a Cause” from one of my favorite verses, Romans 12:2 which states “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.”

such a fitting verse. I know i’ve struggled alot in life with just going with the flow and taking the easy way out. we talked alot this week about just how easy it is to ‘take the easy way out’ and just go with the world because sometimes its just little things. sometimes conforming simply looks like what we wear or where we go. sometimes conforming is simply ignoring the problems that everyone else is ignoring. sometimes, sad as it is, conforming to the world is simply acting like all of the other ‘church people.’ that’s a big one. this week i was reminded of books like Crazy Love and Irresistible Revolution which challenge us as christians to actually live the way God has called us to, not the way that ‘churchy’ people do so often. We are not to fit in and look and act like everyone else. on the other hand, we are not to be so radically different that we look like a cult or put off the world, we are called to be in the world but not of the world.

to me, this looks like loving everyone we encounter, taking the hard way to do whats right, loving people where they are not where we think they should be, serving constantly, giving selflessly, being open, being real ALL THE TIME, practicing what we say, admitting our flaws, sharing our stories, being vulnerable so that others will be, not acting ‘holier than thou’, not judging, not condemning, not being so wrapped up in church as a building that we forget about The Church as the body of Christ.

we are called to be different, but not a cult. too often, i see church people form ‘christian cultures’ that are so different than the mainstream culture that they look like cults. with christian tshirts and christian named companies, etc, etc. i’m not saying these are bad, but sometimes there’s a point of overkill.

back to barefoot, sorry for the soapbox.

it was so great for me to simply serve these girls in any and every way i could and to build relationships with them. its hard to get to know people over a week, but i plan to stay in contact with each of them. it was great to just see them be open and see them be vulnerable and just bond with each other. not just develop bonds with people they already knew, but form bonds with people across racial, socioeconomic, and social backgrounds and just be ONE in the body of Christ. it was great to be able to just put aside any and all differences for a week and just be real at all times with all people.

it makes me sad that we can’t do this all the time in life. we watched Freedom Writers as our movie for movie night (which you should see if you haven’t) and it made me sad that racial/socioeconomic/social backgrounds cause so much tension between us, even still. whether you’re a christian or not, i don’t understand how we can put so much attention on race especially that we see it as a reason to exclude certain people or shun certain people. we’re all HUMANS, we’re just different colors. if everything looked the same, it would be boring. period. including socioeconomic and social backgrounds, it’s clear to me that it is easier to form differences along these lines because of comfort zones. but life is not about being comfortable all the time, life is about living and loving every moment despite whatever. this summer has taught me alot about socioeconomic and racial reconcilation in the world and how it needs to happen. people need to get over themselves, that’s all there really is to it.

but, back to barefoot. everyone got out of their comfort zone and just enjoyed being one in the body of Christ and learning from different perspectives and across all types of different denominations and social backgrounds about the love of Christ and how we are called to be different and how we are called to live and love radically. life in Christ is not about taking the easy way out and this was a constant theme throughout the week. i think the girls (guys too, i just wasn’t really around them much) really ‘got it’ and i was SO excited. there were emotional times, but it bonded us closer together.

before this goes on forever, i’ll close. i just can’t explain how awesome this camp is and its mission and just everything it does. i’m so impressed by it’s leaders and by all of the staff. there were also some pretty sweet cameras floating around and it reminded me that i’d eventually like to save up for a camera (not point and shoot) that will take awesome pictures. to see a selection of some of these awesome pictures, check this out:

i can’t wait to see the future of this camp and how it develops and how i can be a part of it. i’m sooooo thankful that God placed it in my life randomly at an MTSU career day and that i got to go this week.

sidenote: i’m also moving completely into my apartment in nashville this week!! wahoo!!!

i’ve been ending my last several blogs with things i’d like anyone to pray about for me, so i guess i’ll do the same here. just pray that the renewed passion these girls have for the Lord does not diminish and that I will be able to maintain the relationship i’ve built with them this week. also pray that my spirit will not fade out and that i will get back deeper into the Word and that the move goes well!!

love you all!

when the real world hits

next summer i will be a college graduate. this hasn’t completely hit me and probably wont til…next summer, but i’ve been thinking about it alot these past few days.

i’ve had 2 days ‘off’ from work which have been relaxing to an extent. yesterday i spent all day packing up stuff from my apartment and going through random junk i kept for some reason and throwing it away. i scavenged consignment stores, goodwill, walmart, target, and craigslist for anything i thought i could use in my apartment. the hunt was productive, to an extent. i’ve packed a large amount of stuff in my car to take home and take to my new apartment in nashville this weekend :). getting the keys tomorrow and hope to be 100% moved in and living there by the 30th of July. wish me luck.
today was spent somewhat going through stuff but mostly writing 24 letters to the students i taught this summer at the Bridge. each student gets an individual letter from each teacher he/she had stating things he/she did well this summer and things to improve on. this is time consuming to say the least and i am not halfway done, but felt the need to write. i took a break from writing to grab some food and drive around murfreesboro for likely the last time before i move and deep within my mind i realized/pondered some things…
my ‘driving road’ in murfreesboro has always been following out highway 96 to compton, circling through some neighborhoods and coming back to my apartment. a few months ago, on good friday to be exact, the tornado that hit murfreesboro shredded this little neighborhood to pieces. a few days after the storm, i went driving around to see the damage. i did not do this to be a tourist, i went to see if i could help. many people from around the area were helping but i was out of town or in class when they were, so i had my own project. the devastation was terrible. the storm was on the ground for 36 minutes and spanned 20 miles of damage. these houses off of compton near penny lane, etc were just ripped to shreds. some of them. sometimes a house would be devastated and its neighbor would be perfectly fine. tornadoes are scary. i love to watch storms, but tornadoes are the worst. at least with hurricanes you usually have enough warning and they can attempt to predict the path, not so much with tornadoes. luckily only 2 people died because of the storm but thousands of people were displaced. another thing that amazed me, as a sidenote, was how only the starter-type homes were devastated. and all of these homes were typically near neighborhods housing 300K+ houses which were left completely untouched. just an odd thing i noticed.
but back to the point. i had my own side project to help because i’ve known several people affected by disasters, tornadoes in particular and i have a heart for disaster relief. i cannot personally imagine being completely displaced from everything i have and potentially everyone, therefore people deserve the basic necessities to be given to them and deserve all the help they can get, which usually isn’t going to come from FEMA.
before moving onto the main point of this note, today i was driving, as i said a few paragraphs ago, and noticed that many of the houses off of compton have been or are being fixed/rebuilt. it’s taking a LONG time likely because of insurance, etc, but many of these people are getting their homes rebuilt or have sold and moved on and a house is being rebuilt, but there are several, i think 5 to be exact lots in the area that is my personal little project area that have not been rebuilt. one in particular has not even been touched. the house (the bottom floor that wasn’t chopped off) is collapsing into itself. it’s the saddest thing i’ve ever seen. there are children playing outside in a pool next door and this house is collapsing into itself. you can look inside the blown out windows while driving by and see the family memorabilia on the walls. you can see scraps of their lives strewn in their yard. i just wonder what the story is there. i want to help. another house, just across the street from this one has been completely demolished except for the swingset in the backyard. you can find a ‘living with a parent who’s an alcoholic’ book in the front driveway of this home. another house across the street from that one has been leveled and the lot has been cleared except for a pile of brick that someone brought in i guess in hopes to rebuild, but the brick has been there for months. i wonder what the story is on these families? it breaks my heart to see this, but i don’t know what i can do. the home that inspired my project belongs to an old man, i don’t know who he is and i’m not even sure if he is the man who lives there, but his house was devastated and said without even a blue tarp for weeks. the only thing looked untouched was his john deere mower. all of his neighbors’ homes were fine, but his was at the beginning of where the storm touched back down.
i just want to help, but i don’t know what i can do. i don’t want to simply donate money or volunteer to put together care packets, while i do acknowledge those are necessary. i want to build relationships and help these people piece their lives back together. i want to ensure they have the basic necessities. i was able to do this with the help of several members of my psychology honor society and personally deliver giftcards to two different families and it was amazing!
so…i’m sure you’ve been wondering what all that has to do with the title of this blog..
as i was driving around the compton area today, i decided that i want to work with disaster ridden families, especially students, for at least a little bit after i graduate. i’m really not sure what that means, but i want to. i want to go overseas to africa and do mission work at some point in my life, and i want to travel the world and help people, but i also feel it is important to help those on our own shores rebuild their lives as well. last summer i was able to go to Gulfport, MS to help families rebuild from hurricane Katrina and i had no desire to come back to tennessee. i wanted to stay forever. i had planned to travel to Galveston and Gulfport again this summer, but due to technical difficulties or something i dont have control over, those trips were cancelled. but i want to help these people. relief work from Katrina is not completely finished and won’t be for a long time, and i want to help people rebuild. i want to work in natural disaster stricken areas with families and students. i’m not sure what this means. but i feel called to do it. maybe it could mean moving next august to somewhere like Gulfport or Galveston and teaching. i have no idea, but i have a strong stirring in myself, and i feel at home when i’m doing things like that. so pray that God reveals to me what all this means and where He wants me to go with this, and that He shows me if this is His desire or simply mine.
just a thought i had today while driving.
now to head home and write more letters…

Bridge, so far.

wow. its been far too long since i’ve been on here.

life has been crazy to say the least over the past almost 2 months, here’s a brief summary:
new job.
21st birthday.
found a roommate.
found an apartment.
CMA Fest.
tons of celebrities dying.
that’s pretty much the jist of it all.
From my birthday-July 18th i have been/will be serving as a teacher at the Nashville Bridge program sponsored by the YMCA. ( I’ve been teaching a class on Model UN to upcoming 8th graders and serving as a “water girl” on Mondays for sports at Centennial Park and co-teaching scrapbooking on Thursdays to a mixture of upcoming 7th-10th graders. I work at Hume Fogg in Downtown Nashville, which is AWESOME because those of you who know me know I have a “slight” obsession with downtown. Here’s a brief summary of my days for those of you who are curious:
7am–Arrive at Hume Fogg
8am-12noon–student breakfast then Teach 3 classes of Model UN Prep + 1 off period
12noon-3:30pm–lunch, afternoon enrichments
Mondays: sports
Wednesdays: Field Trip
Thursdays: Arts
Fridays: Special Event
4pm: (everyday except wednesdays when its 5:15pm) leave Hume Fogg for the day
5:30ish pm: Arrive home after lovely rush hour traffic to Hendersonville
7pm: After dinner, my nights were usually spent working on worksheets, lesson plans, grading journals, or creating activities/projects for the next day then I head to bed at 10:30 to start again the next day at 5:30am.
Needless to say, it was a pretty busy month of June and the next two weeks of July are up in the air, but will be extremely busy themselves I’m just assuming.
The job has been fun, don’t get me wrong, but it has also been one of the most stressful experiences of my life. I have had only short glimpses of so called “free time” that most summers offer and have hardly had any nights where I’ve been able to be my natural night owl self and stay up writing, watching tv, hanging out, or anything else I would typically do during my ‘prime time’ hours of fun and enjoyment. I’m not complaining about the job, but I do wish I had been able to be less stressed and busy because it is summer and there are things I’d like to do with my free time, but I knew I would be busy when I took this job, just didn’t know I’d be THIS busy.
This job has also taught me alot about myself, not necessarily in the ways I expected/hoped for, but I have learned some. I do enjoy being around students and being an influence in their lives, it’s exhausting but in the best way possible. I also enjoy decorating classrooms, but I already knew that. I also enjoy being around a school environment. The Bridge is not exactly school because there are no grades and this does not directly affect their academic careers at their August-May schools, but it is somewhat of a school environment. It does not have the politics that schools sadly do and there is no set curriculum which is good and bad, depending upon the class. I really enjoy the school environment and middle school students. I think I would enjoy working with high school students as well, but I never see myself working in an elementary school, at all. Knowing all of this, I think I might be able to see myself teaching, briefly. I don’t think I can picture myself as a career teacher because I just feel that I would get burnt out, but I could see myself doing it briefly after college, possibly. I could definitely see myself as a guidance counselor. I loved the small class sizes because it gave me an opportunity to have more one-on-one time with the students and cater my classes to their individual needs and skill levels, something a 30 student classroom can never do. I am much better working with students in small groups than controlling a larger one, but I think this is the way anyone is likely. I also know that research shows that smaller classrooms are more effective for everyone except the people financing them, but those people…that’s another story.
We went to a place called Kipp Academy during our training week, which I may look more into after college for a few years, not sure.
I also learned that I enjoy the nonprofit environment because I get to make a positive difference in a direct way in the lives of youth, but I HATE it because it is soo difficult to find funding for. I could write an entire note about this, and I don’t know all the details of it, but it deeply saddens me that the Bridge has such a problem finding funding for its program with their being such an abundance of wealth just around Nashville. Again, that could be a note in itself, but its frustrating, but its rewarding, and I wish more people would recognize that.
While this job has been fun and has taught me many things as you’ve read above, I’ve also been slightly disappointed in myself. I expected and hoped for and had decided upon this job because I felt this was where God was pushing me to be and that this job was going to allow me the time to reconnect and get in the habit of having a more consistent quiet time of reading the word more and spending more time alone with God and it has not allowed for that, but nor have I really held myself to the standard I said I would. This job is an extremely serving job, and I know that His strength has gotten me through this, but I have not spent as much outside time with Him as I need to and said I was going to. This job schedule has been more crazy than any job ever should be, but that is not an excuse.
I also said I was going to work out at least 3 days a week and that has not happened, at all.
The next two weeks, not exactly sure what they hold because organization/structure is crazy and then I will be at Barefoot Republic Camp for a week ( Pray for me and wish me luck through all of this and pray that I would set the time aside to read the Word more and workout, both of these are necessary for my life, I’ve just been slacking.
As for the rest of my summer, well I’m sure this note is long enough for now, so I’ll update that soon.