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14 Leadership Insights for Women from the Missouri Commissioner of Education

14 Leadership Insights for Women from the Missouri Commissioner of Education

While attending the Southeastern Women in School Leadership Conference in June of 2019, I had the opportunity to hear women share their stories and the challenges they faced as females in educational leadership. By simply hearing from other women and having a chance to make connections, I gained valuable insights that I was able to use immediately in my own career. Because this experience was so helpful to me, and based on current statistics, women are underrepresented in educational leadership positions, I wanted to try to provide a similar experience to other women who are currently leaders in education or who aspire to leadership positions. So, a team of my Edmentum colleagues and I worked together to host the inaugural Edmentum Women Leaders in Education Conference in Columbia, Missouri, on October 2, 2019.

The one-day, free event took place at the University of Missouri, and we were fortunate enough to present a lineup of incredible women education leaders. Dr. Stacey Preis, director of policy for the PRiME Center at Saint Louis University, served as the session moderator. Dr. Margie Vandeven, Missouri commissioner of education, and Dr. Karen Barton, senior vice president of research and design at Edmentum, delivered the keynote addresses. The panel discussion featured five female district leaders from Missouri:

  • Dr. Nettie Collins-Hart, superintendent of Hazelwood School District
  • Dr. Crystal Gale, network superintendent of St. Louis Public Schools
  • Debbie Gonzalez, superintendent of Slater School District
  • Dr. Sharonica Hardin-Bartley, superintendent of the School District of University City
  • Dr. Sarah Marriott, superintendent of Boonville R-1 School District

Every speaker shared thoughtful advice and wisdom, and for this post, we’d like to share 14 leadership insights and lessons from Missouri Commissioner of Education Dr. Margie Vandeven.

1. Be nice to people on your way up. You’ll meet them on your way down.

2. A leader loses her right to a free comment.

3. At some point, you may realize that you are unpopular.

4. As women in leadership, it is our job to find other women in leadership and really pull them up.

5. Be deliberate in making sure a variety of voices are heard.

6. Everything around you that you call life was made up by people no smarter than you.

7. There will be times in your life as a leader where you have to decide where you are going to stand.

8. Make the most of second chances.

9. You can have it all but not at the same time.

10. Sometimes women have to work twice as hard.

11. Know the game.

12. If you see it, you can be it.

13. Bring in the claws.

14. Be you!

I hope that you found Dr. Vandeven’s message to be as valuable as the women who attended the event and I did. Be on the lookout for another women in leadership blog post in which we will share wisdom from the panel of superintendents!

ronda.talamantez's picture

Ronda Talamantez leads a team that partners with educators in small and rural districts to provide Edmentum programs and services to address a wide range of challenges and goals. Ronda holds a BS from the University of North Texas and will soon be working toward her M.Ed in Educational Technology at Texas A&M.

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