The one thing that I have learned over my career is that the higher you move up the ladder of responsibility, the more critical your leadership ability becomes. Of course, as we begin our careers, our technical knowledge is essential. But as we climb up that ladder, our ability to influence people, build connections with people, and relate to people are the skills that take us to the top.
So how did I get to where I am today, and how did I get on this Educational Leader journey that I’m on?
My superpower journey started when I was a child because my grandfather told me that I was a leader. Here’s how it began…
So, my cousins and I would be in a room playing, and there were about 25 of us in that room. As one would think, it would often get a little noisy. My grandfather would always call out “Kim and Jackie,” my cousin. When that happened, he would say, “lower your voices.” So one day, I asked my grandfather, “Grandpa, why do you always pick on me?”
He said, “I’m not picking on you, Kim. When you raise your voice, everyone else raises their voice. When you lower your voice, everyone else lowers their voice.” So what my grandfather was telling me was that other people would follow me because I influenced them. That message stuck with me.
As I entered high school, I wish I could tell you that I was positively using my gift of influence, but I wasn’t. Instead, I used it to convince my friends to do things I wanted to do, not necessarily what we needed to do to succeed. I even carried that trend with me into my college career.
When I was a freshman in college, I joined the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC). I would love to tell you once again that I used my leadership to be an outstanding cadet, but that would not be accurate. Instead, my fellow cadets rated me the worst cadet in our organization the first year.
Yes. I said the worst cadet. Why? Because for everything they asked me to do, my response was, no, I don’t do that. No, don’t do that. No, don’t do that! But, here’s the bad part about it. I would convince other people to agree with me not to do that. So, I was rated as the worst cadet.
As you can imagine, being a relatively young person, that hurt my feelings. So, I decided I needed to make a change. And I went from the worst cadet to the best cadet. How did I do that? I adjusted my attitude, and I began to use my leadership positively. As a result, I became the first female cadet commander of my ROTC corps.
So, I went from last to first by positively using my influence as a leader. Then, I went on to have a very successful military career where I won numerous awards, medals, and commendations, and I became a senior leader in my career field. Then, when I retired, I became what I consider to be the best job that I’ve ever had; a teacher.
I became a ninth-grade science teacher. Now, don’t get me wrong, I loved my military career. I think it was the second-best career you can have. But there’s something special about being a teacher because you have the privilege to shape, mold, and influence young lives.
So I took all of the leadership skills that I had learned in my 20 plus years in the military and brought those same skills into the classroom to help raise the next generation of leaders. And that’s what I did during the years I taught in the classroom.
Over time, people would approach me and say, “you should become an administrator.” So, after a few years, I decided to take an administrative position downtown at the central office. While I worked as an administrator at the central office, I also became an adjunct college professor because I wanted to stay connected as an educator to young people.
I missed having daily interaction with students, and I wanted to help them grow. Not just in their content knowledge or technical skills, but also as leaders. So after a couple of years at the central office, I came back to a school site to take on a site-based administrative position.
Eventually, I was promoted to Principal of my high school. Yes, I said Principal. I know for some of you, reading this, you’re thinking, “oh gosh,” thinking back to when you were in high school, and you had to go to the Principal’s office. Some of you reading this were like most of my students; I only saw them when I was doing lunch duty, in the hallways, or in the classroom. But there are a few of you reading this that the trip to the Principal’s office was not always a pleasant one.
I know you’re laughing. You’re saying to yourself right now, “I remember those days.” But I want you to understand that the role of the Principal is not just what many traditionally think of as a disciplinarian.
A high school Principal runs a mid-size company. I had more than 150 employees working for me. In addition to that, I had human resources, finance, food service, transportation, maintenance, facilities, inventory, and operations. I had a budget of close to 12 million that I was responsible for. You name it, and I had it.
So my leadership skills were extremely important as I tried to ensure that we produced those excellent workers needed in organizations today. And that’s what we get to do as site-based administrators.
I’m also an Executive Director and founding partner of the John Maxwell Team. I became aware of John Maxwell early in my military career by reading several of his books recommended to me by my mentors. So when John decided to start his coaching company, I said, “this is precisely what I’m looking for because I want to help people be as effective as they possibly can and reach their full potential.”
Let me tell you about the job that has honed my leadership skills to be the highly effective leader I am today. And that is being the very proud mother of five children.
Yes. I said five children. Can you believe that I have five beautiful, wonderfully gifted, talented, independent children? Each of them has their personalities and quirks that have challenged me as their mother to lead them in the right direction.
“Leadership is a privilege full of excellent opportunities to add value to others”-Dr. Kim Moore
As I continue my journey as an Educational Leader, not only am I a wife and mother of five children, I also have five awesome grandchildren. Also, I continue to teach as an adjunct faculty member and work as a leadership consultant. Additionally, I continue to be passionate about leadership and education, and my leadership philosophy is to lead by example.
I’m currently serving as the Assistant Superintendent of Career and Innovative Programs in the Pasco County School District of Florida, leading their Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion initiative for more than 9,000 employees and 80,000 students.
I’m an Educational Leader. What’s your superpower?
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