Leah Watkins' application

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<p>Leah Rice Watkins180 Hobbs Road Cottage Grove, TN 38224 731-822-3369 731-343-9888 LeahRice Watkins@gmail.com</p> <p>June 22, 2012</p> <p>Superintendent Search Committee Duval County Schools 1701 Prudential Drive Jacksonville, FL 32207</p> <p>Dear Superintendent</p> <p>Search Committee:</p> <p>It is with great enthusiasm that I provide you a copy of my qualifications to be a candidate for your next Superintendent. I am currently an elementary school principal and Doctoral student in west Tennessee. I have had the privilege to work with outstanding administrators, educators, parents, and students over the past 12 years, experiencing times of joy, frustration, passion, and success with educational stakeholders. As I anticipate my fifth year as a building level Principal, I am seeking a Superintendent position from which I may share my passion, focus on relationships, attention to research, and thirst for data from the district perspective. Though there are many vacancies available, your district is the one I intend to pursue. The educational climate, focus, and level of education within the Jacksonville area is one that draws me toward the district. While I anticipate this search committee to be in the process of looking for applicants with previous Superintendent experience, I urge you to look for something different. I bring a vigor, a passion, a fresh and enthusiastic perspective to the Superintendent position. This perspective is one driven by dedication to the profession and the belief that ALL students should have access to the highest quality of instruction. What I lack in experience with budgeting and large school districts, I make up for with my ability to acquire new skills in a rapid manner, and my energy and enthusiasm for the field. I am a dedicated and tireless individual, driven to propel educators into new levels of performance. I am a teacher, a parent, and a school administrator. If you are looking for this crisp and honest view of the school district's strengths and needs as well as someone who will recognize and address those strengths and needs, I am your candidate for the next Superintendent of Duval County Schools. My resume, educational transcripts, certification, and letters of reference are enclosed for your review. Thank you for taking the time to review my information. I look forward to speaking with you. Sincerely,</p> <p>Leah Rice Watkins Enclosure</p> <p>Duval County Public SchoolsApplication Information Form</p> <p>Jacksonville, FloridaPosition: Superintendent</p> <p>Title: Name:</p> <p>0 Dr.</p> <p>0 Mr.</p> <p>0 Ms.</p> <p>..; Mrs.</p> <p>o (other-pleaseTelephone Office: Home: Cell: E-mail:</p> <p>list) 731-822-3369 (731) 642-3675 ext. 3202 (731) 822-3369 (731) 343-9888</p> <p>_</p> <p>Leah Rice Watkins 180 Hobbs Rd Cottage Grove TN</p> <p>Home Address:</p> <p>Zip Code:</p> <p>38224</p> <p>Leahricewatkins@gmail.com</p> <p>Record of Professional Institution Union University Union University Walden University</p> <p>Education</p> <p>(in reverse chronology) Graduation Date Anticipated May 2014 July 2008 2006 Major Administration and Supervision K-12 Leadership Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment Human Learning 1Degree Doctorate Education Specialist Master of Science</p> <p>University of TN at Martin</p> <p>1998</p> <p>Bachelor of Science</p> <p>8Record of Professional Title Elementary Principal Middle School Principal Elementary Teacher Primary Teacher Experience (in reverse chronology) District to to to to Prese nt 2009 2008 2001 Paris Special Henry County Schools Paris Special Martin Primary School State TN TN TN TN Enrollment 576 280</p> <p>Dates 2009 2008 2001 2000</p> <p>The School Board has identified the following qualities for the superintendent</p> <p>of schools.</p> <p>Please respond to each of the qualities stressing your experience, strengths, and abilities in each area, limiting your responses to between 200 and 300 words for each item.</p> <p>1. A leader who solicits, respects and values the input of stakeholders at all levels of the organization and who has demonstrated leadership in utilizing that input to create and sustain a culture of shared decision-making. Through my experience in education, I have had the opportunity to work with several Superintendents, and multiple Principals. Each has had a different leadership style. One of the superintendents I have worked with was never seen in the building. One casually and nonthreateningly strolled through buildings and was well-liked by the teachers. One intimidated teachers and administrators alike. And one was often seen in the building, but had the reputation of being very controlling. From each of these administrators, I have gained a working knowledge of the Superintendent I will be. From my first experience, I learned that the Superintendent is always on duty and always represents the district. I want that representation to always be for the betterment of a district. From my second superintendent, I learned how to inspire teachers and principals to be their best through compassion and openness. From the third superintendent, I learned that there are often times when a decision is not popular, but it is right for students. And from my most recent Superintendent, I learned to listen to others, but to weigh the options to ensure the decision is in the best interest of students. Each of these Superintendents has helped to outline the leadership style I will incorporate as a school Superintendent. Each of these experiences have helped me to see the need for soliciting, respecting, and valuing the input of stakeholders in the creation and sustaining of a culture of shared decision making. A strength I have is patience. To elicit and consider feedback from all levels of stakeholders requires an investment of time. The time is required to build a relationship with principals, teachers, staff, parents, and community members. Each of these stakeholders must be given time to establish trust with the Superintendent. Furthermore, I will take the time to meet with various stakeholders to determine the current status and a prioritized list of needs for the district. I know the value of listening, considering, and then collaboratively making a decision. My abilities include the ability to listen and consider different perspectives in decision making. Furthermore, as a building level administrator, I have worked with several stakeholder groups. I utilized three teams to collaboratively make decisions within our building. I worked with team leaders, an expanded building leadership team, and my parent organization. Examples of decisions we made together included purchasing, textbook adoption, benchmarking techniques, curriculum pacing, dates, programs, special events, student behavior strategies, student recognition procedures, as well as other decisions made within the building. Through the input of others, I am able to see a greater perspective and gain the voice of the stakeholders for our school community. I have the ability to apply this to a school district. 2. A leader who supports and empowers principals, teachers and staff to improve organizational and student performance outcomes. I have had the experience of working for an administrator who empowered me. As a classroom teacher, I worked with a Principal that encouraged me to pursue alternate venues to achieve results in my students. This principal always encouraged me to do my best, monitored andDuval County Public Schools, Jacksonville, FL Closing date July 23,2012</p> <p>inspired, yet did not limit or stifle my teaching. I have also worked with an administrator who micromanaged all my decisions, making me feel stifled and limited in my ability to do what was needed. Each of these experiences has impacted my performance as an administrator. My strengths include my ability to trust in those who have the most knowledge of the students. I have had many a conversation with parents in which I deferred to them on a decision due to their knowledge of their child. Furthermore, I do not presume to tell a teacher what will work best in his/her classrooms. While I know best practices in education, the teachers and principals know the individual students and work with them on a daily basis. I have the ability to trust in the capacity of those Principals and teachers. Furthermore, I have the strength to assist or remove those teachers incapable of maintaining this trust. In order to propel the organization to its utmost potential, we must have the right people leading the buildings, leading the district, and leading in classrooms, I have the ability to empower and ensure the right people are in each of those places. 3. A proactive visionary, able to consider, plan and implement systemic change that increase the district's ability to recognize and respond to current and future challenges as they arise. I currently work with a leadership team focused upon staying ahead in the field of education. We have been anticipating and working to prepare for Common Core State Standards for several years. This has been accomplished through communication with stakeholders, pacing and alignment, and monitoring of data. My strength lies in the ability to anticipate the impact change will have on and organization and the scaffolding of preparatory needs in anticipation of the challenge or objective. Any organization of size must anticipate upcoming trends and changes to ensure effective implementation. Furthermore, systematic change within the school district must be focused upon the educational needs of students. Therefore, careful weighing of research and initiatives must be conducted in a timely manner to determine the effect for students and staff as well as the stages of implementation. It is through a continuing cycle of anticipation, cultivation, and selection that will continue to propel the district into the desired levels of success. 4. Someone with strong organizational and leadership skills, able to collaboratively align and focus internal and external stakeholders' efforts to accelerate progress on achieving the district's goals for student and organizational performance. As a district leadership team, we have worked to increase test scores across the district. We have systematically addressed parents, teachers, and students to move toward a district goal of increasing student performance. It has taken each member of the leadership team to motivate and inspire teachers and to educate parents on interpreting scores, the importance of the scores, and how to improve them. There has been much collaboration, great amounts of communication, and a non-wavering focus on the goal we wanted to achieve. Through this focus and collaborative effort, our goals are being achieved. A strength and ability I possess, includes my ability to inspire others and help them to share a common goal. My experience as principal as assisted my ability to understand a reasonable amount of progress, therefore it has helped me discern and establish appropriate increments of growth toward a goal. I am capable of developing a timeline with measurable growth in process that allows opportunity to celebrate successes in the progression toward the goal. ThisDuval County Public Schools, Jacksonville, FL Closing date July 23, 2012</p> <p>is a key toward the acceleration of the district's progress toward its goals. I am capable of praising and encouraging this growth in attempt to recognize efforts and sustain stamina. Furthermore, I have the capacity to involve those external and internal stakeholders in a manner that promotes ownership and pride in the district focus. 5. A person of integrity who is trustworthy and who's relationships, with the board and across the district, are predicated on honest and open communications. In my years of experience, I have been fortunate to work with people of true character and passion for education. I have had the opportunity to surround myself with those of high integrity and trustworthiness, and know the importance of these attributes. As I work with others to make decisions, a strength I have is to make sure the decision is in the best interest of students. There is openness and honesty to my decision-making with transparency for my first and primary priority of student learning. Once that contingency has been met, I consider the needs of teachers and parents, but ultimately, students are the primary factor in my decisions. This is evidenced through budgetary decisions, staffing, scheduling, and communication. This clarity in my focus, allows teachers and co-workers to trust me. I have the ability and desire to operate in this same manner with the Duval County Board of Education. Our focus will be unified toward the needs of students, and change will be thus focused. I have the ability and strength to stand for student needs and public education in all decisions without scheming or manipulation. Both the board and stakeholders alike will know I am approachable, open to suggestions and discussion, and focused upon students.</p> <p>Duval County Public Schools, Jacksonville,</p> <p>FL</p> <p>Closing date July 23, 2012</p> <p>Do you have a Superintendent Endorsement for the state represented by the position listed on this Application Information Form?(If you have questions regarding the requirements to be a superintendent State of Florida, contact the Florida Oepartment of Education) in the</p> <p>Yes</p> <p>No</p> <p>X -to</p> <p>Eligible apply</p> <p>I certify that the information provided herein is true and complete to the best of my knowledge. __ LW__ (initials) I am aware that the Florida Sunshine Act will require that all applicant information is public and can be released to the media upon request.</p> <p>Applicant hereby waives his/her right to confidentiality with regard to his/her work record or criminal record and consents to and authorizes the release of information from current or former employers and/or law enforcement personnel upon inquiry under this application.</p> <p>Signature of Applicant: ~ Printed name of Applican_Leah</p> <p>~ Rice Watkins. _</p> <p>_</p> <p>Date: __</p> <p>6/22/2012</p> <p>_</p> <p>This application must be COMPLETED and RETURNED by:</p> <p>MONDAY, JULY 23,2012</p> <p>Duval County Public Schools McPherson &amp; Jacobson, L.L.C. Executive Recruitment and Development 7905 L St., Suite 310 Omaha, Nebraska 68127 Phone: (402) 991-7031/(888) 375-4814 E-mail: apps@macnjake.com Fax: (402) 991-7168</p> <p>AAlEEO Employer</p> <p>Duval County Public Schools, Jacksonville,</p> <p>FL</p> <p>Closing date July 23,2012</p> <p>LEAH JO RICE WATKINSOBJECTIVETo facilitate the growth of an educational organization into new heights of excellence through the use of diagnostic information, resource implementation, and organizational culture and expectation</p> <p>EDUCATIONJuly 2008 - Present Doctor of Education: Union University Jackson, 'IN Administration and Supervision (ABD)</p> <p>January 2007 - July 2008 Union University Jackson, 'IN Educational Specialist: Administration and Supervision 2004 - 2006 Walden University Minneapolis, MN Master of Science: Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment 1995 - 1998 Univers...</p>