The great influence of a model mentor
In honor of #mentoringmonth, Communities In Schools of Mid-America at Tulsa Affiliate Director Jania Wester shares the great influence of her own mentor.
My first mentor was my principal when I started my teaching career at Kendall-Whittier Elementary. This was, at the time, the largest elementary school in the district and larger than all but 2 high schools.
My mentor was a true life-changer not just in my life but in the lives of everyone that entered our school. She fostered passion for those in need and devotion to ensuring we had a strong bond with our community. We worked hard because she worked even harder. She believed in building trust, honesty and compassion with our families. She started molding me as a teacher and encouraged me to seek leadership roles within the school.
Later on, she encouraged me to pursue my master’s degree in Educational Leadership. She saw skills that I never knew existed. She also offered me my first administration position in the same school which ended up teaching me a lot. She was a very busy administrator but she always carved time for me and supported me through my toughest times in my personal and professional life.
Her leadership example molded me to be a similar principal when I took the principalship for Zarrow International School, to care and listen but be able to make the difficult decisions for the good of the students.
She always said- “you will not be able to please everyone so focus on the main goal, the kids, and you will be able to sleep at night knowing you did the right thing for those that don’t have a voice.” She believed in me and worked on helping me believe in myself.
When I moved to CIS, she was one of the first people to reach out to me to make sure it was my decision and that I felt peace about it.