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Student Profile: Julie Ray
We had the pleasure of catching up with one of our graduates, Julie Ray, who received a Master of Education in Educational Leadership, and an Administration Certification from City University of Seattle. Julie was recently promoted to Principal of Lakeland Elementary School in the Federal Way School District. Prior to her promotion, Julie served as Assistant Principal at Saghalie Middle School, also in the Federal Way School District.
When our alumni manager, Alex Webster, connected with her, here is what Julie had to say:
CityU (CU): Why did you become an educator or when did you know education was the field for you?
Julie Ray (JR): I had several inspiring teachers in high school that made a difference in my life. My high school choir teacher taught me to set goals, work hard, and believe in myself. I also have a brother with special needs and he taught me compassion, humility, and how to enjoy the little things in life. I strongly believe that every student needs a strong advocate and a safe place to fall. I am honored to be in the best career in the world. Educators make a difference every day in the lives of precious children and are also taught important lessons by students!
(CU): In the classroom vs. administration. What motivated you to pursue an education leadership post?
(JR): I am a teacher first and foremost. There is nothing better than to see the bright eyes, joy, and excitement when you see students learn how to read or solve a challenging problem. I had the opportunity to loop with my students for 3-years and saw incredible benefits socially, emotionally, and academically. I was motivated to move into a leadership role to make a bigger difference in more students’ lives and to support teachers in providing a student centered learning environment focused on high levels of expectations for ALL students.
(CU): As an educational leader, what are some of the greatest challenges you’ve faced in moving your schools forward?
(JR): I was at a school for 2-years going through a transition to a STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) program. I learned so much about the change process through this experience. I learned how important it is to establish a clear and shared vision, and communicate the vision to all stakeholders. I also learned about the power of establishing a School Leadership Team and collaborating to write the School Improvement Plan. I also strongly believe that job embedded professional development is a key ingredient in guiding the schools’ goals and action steps to create a supportive learning environment for all students.
(CU): What was your experience like with the CityU Education Leadership Program?
(JR): I had an amazing experience at City U’s Leadership program and grew immensely as a leader. I couldn’t have asked for a better field supervisor and mentor principal. I believe that the principal internship is what you make of it and I was given the opportunity to dive into many different leadership roles. The most important role of my internship was my experience as an Instruction leader and leading district initiatives. I learned so much about the change process and reflected weekly in logs. My Field Supervisor also observed me at least once a month engaged in leadership activities and served as a great reflective coach. I also had top notch instructors that were master principals that offered words of wisdom, motivation, and encouragement!
(CU): Do you have any words of encouragement or advice for educators out there who would like to move into a leadership role and/or switch to a more administrative role within their district
(JR): I encourage educators that have a desire to move into leadership to get involved in as many leadership roles as possible. I was a teacher leader, Instructional Coach, and also monitored the Title program before starting the Leadership program. I also suggest facilitating professional development at your school or the district level. This will help you clearly understand the change process and see the different dynamics in education. I also believe that it is so important to listen and learn from teachers, students, and parents and lead with a humble heart and open mind. You will be greatly respected as a leader if you make every decision based on what’s best for kids!
Thank you for your time Julie and congratulations on your success!
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