Have you been in a school lately and seen how well (or poorly) it runs. You should send a note to your assistant principal because they are the reason! How do I know? My friend Melissa Glover is one.
First I would like to point out that Melissa is Nicole's identical twin sister. I shared Nicole's story earlier this week and how I met these two in college. I have often joked that God knew one person couldn't handle me so he gave me two.
Melissa graduated with a masters in education and began teaching high school history. In her first year many of the students thought she was a student and even asked her to prom. She's short and full of energy, very un-adultlike, and for those very reasons we are friends.
Emily (E): First I want to ask what led you to education in the first place?
Melissa (M): I always loved History classes when I was in high school so I majored in History in order to teach high school. I loved teaching from the first day and knew it was the best possible fit for me!
Not even a decade into her teaching career Melissa was asked to become the assistant principal at a neighboring school.
E: Did you see yourself going into administration at such a young age?
M: I LOVED teaching and never imagined myself leaving so I definitely did not foresee my future. I earned my Ed.S and passed the certification for administration because I felt that completing that was the final step in my journey and I like to always complete any available opportunities.
Melissa finished her Ed.S while I was finishing my MBA. Many people were confused why such young adults would work on graduate degrees of this magnitude. Melissa saw it the same way I did. We wanted to take the chance while we had the time and energy to pursue it. Little did Melissa know that shortly after receiving her degree; opportunity came knocking. At the age of 31 Melissa was asked to become an assistant principal.
E: What do you feel set you apart from other teachers that lead to your promotion?
M: I LOVED teaching and embraced it to the fullest because it was challenging, fun and rewarding. As I began to truly understand the curriculum, I became even more passionate about passing it on to students, so I sought out opportunities to provide enrichment and rewarding opportunities for students. I also sought out Leadership opportunities because I wanted to continue my pursuit of excellence in my profession.
E: What was it like when you started as an Assistant Principal?
M: When I started as an Assistant Principal for the first time 6 years ago I really struggled because I did not know anyone in the building, my move happened very last minute, I found out that I was pregnant with my second son and I was DEFINITELY out of my comfort zone. But, the worst part was that I made a huge mistake and tried to make myself fit into my perceived expectation of the job instead of fitting the job around my strengths. Once I realized that mistake and allowed myself to truly be me in my daily life, I was set!
E: A lot of people don’t even know what an Assistant Principal does. What does a typical day in your life entail?
M: The charge of an (Assistant Principal) AP, in the simplest form, is to ensure that all students have an opportunity for academic success by providing instructional and structural support to teachers. But, perhaps the best way to sum up the life of an Assistant Principal is by tracking my daily steps; if I get below 20,000 steps in a day then it is definitely not a weekday!
The daily life of an AP is constantly varied and consistently fast moving. On any given day, I will have a conversation with around 100 students and 40 adults; I will receive and reply to well over 100 emails; I will have conversations in person or on the phone with at least 10 parents; I will complete one 90 minute evaluation of a teacher; I will provide supervision to hallways, classrooms, parking lots and the cafeteria; I will attend/lead many meetings regarding student or teacher support; I will eat a granola bar for lunch sometime around 2pm; I will attend an athletic event, concert or some other event after school and will get home around 10pm when I will finally have time to check my emails from the day.
In addition, I have the unique opportunity to learn from and be inspired by some of the most amazing people on the planet: teenagers. My kids will settle for nothing less than adults in their most genuine form and I am grateful every day that they hold me accountable to being ME! At my favorite school, my kids’ life experiences provided them with a level of raw honesty that allowed me to truly capture their flawed perfection through simple (or complex) daily interactions. To put it simply, I loved them and they loved me; they needed me and I needed them.
Melissa is such an effective Assistant Principal that she has been moved to more challenging schools twice (and succeeded). Her latest move, however, is the biggest.
Melissa will be the assistant principal of Harden Valley Middle School, a brand new school in the process of being built.
E: What does it feel like to be a part of building a new school?
M: Opening a new school is incredibly exciting because the possibilities are endless! When we visit the construction site and see the new additions, I am blown away with the fact that I get to be a part of opening a school, which is something that the majority of teachers will never experience.
E: What is your plan of attack when you start at a new school?
M: My plan of attack is to be open minded, have a growth mindset and throw myself into the new place.
E: What vision do you have for this new school that’s different from the other schools you've been a part of?
M: Honestly, the vision is the exact same as other schools: to provide supportive and enriching opportunities for all students.
Because Melissa was also an amazing teacher I wanted to ask her secret sauce for staying with such a thankless job.
E: Teacher turnover is a challenge. For new teachers what piece of advice would you give for them to stay the course?
M: First, if you do not want to stay the course then GET OUT NOW. It is ok to accept that this might not be your best career choice. Teaching is DEFINITELY a job because it requires many, many hours, but at it’s core teaching is a calling. For the teachers who know that this is their place, find your marigold.
This article just really best sums that up:
Education can be seen as a nameless, faceless establishment that we as a society point to as the key contributor to success or failure. But who is in the trenches daily? Melissa Glover, that's who. The advocate, the cheerleader and the tireless lover of every student under her school roof.
Melissa may be the biological mother of two children but she is the voice for 1000s.
Find your marigold she says; I did, and her name is Melissa Glover.