Although not my first administrative position the time I spent at Rolling Hills Middle School with the Campbell Union School District were the formative years; years that defined who I was to become as a leader. The principal had mentored a variety of assistant principals and knew where to place me for the success of the students and the staff. However, she also let me define projects that I felt could improve the schools’ standing in the community, restoring some of the luster that had been lost in recent years.
As a seasoned staff Rolling Hills had seen its share of new administrators with great ideas; yet we were able to achieve vertical mapping of our math program to define Algebra for all at the eighth grade level, and set high standards for student behavior on our campus. These were two objectives the superintendent made quite clear to me at the time of my hiring.
As a large campus, Rolling Hills is also where I expanded my work with special populations. We had a variety of programs on campus, from our learning resource rooms to a treatment centered program for emotionally disturbed middle school students and including special day classes for severely disabled students. An ability to work closely with special education staff around diverse student needs is one of the key leadership areas I took to my future positions.
There are four things that Rolling Hills brought out in my leadership skills:
- At Rolling Hills I continued my development as an effective communicator and manager of a large school (over 1,100 students) while being one of only two administrators. This taught me a great deal about effective collaborative leadership to achieve consistent student discipline processes, meaningful teacher evaluation, while developing an effective student recognition program.