Elementary Teacher Embarks on a New Learning Journey
Nebo School District teacher joins McKay School Master’s Program to achieve his dream
The key to achieving your dreams is to take the first step. Shawn Rawlings, a fifth grade teacher at Westside Elementary, took the first step toward achieving his dream to become a principal when he entered the Leadership Preparation Program (LPP) in the Department of Educational Leadership and Foundations (EDLF) at the McKay School.
The LPP track is a 14-month full-time program that grants its students a Master’s of Education Degree and eligibility to apply for Utah Administrative Licensure. Through collaborative efforts between BYU and participating Utah school districts, many teachers receive a one-year sabbatical to study educational leadership.
Rawlings said he has enjoyed his experience in the program so far and is excited to learn more about the work he will do as a principal. “As a teacher, you are not always exposed to what goes on behind the scenes from a full administrative standpoint,” said Rawlings. “I don’t know all of the things that a principal needs to know, but I hope to learn more about them in the LPP program.”
Rawlings also said he has enjoyed working with the EDLF Faculty. He is pleased with their amazing level of expertise and how willing they are to work with him and answer his questions. He said their help will be important to him as he continues to work toward his goal.
Rawlings’ teaching experience includes three different elementary schools and three different grade levels. “It’s a very rewarding job,” said Rawlings. “I love when a past student comes back to visit and tells me about the difference I made in their life.”
It is this positive outcome that inspires Rawlings’ dream to be a principal. He said that as a future administrator, he hopes to continue to make a difference in the lives of the students, build a good rapport with parents, and serve as mentor and inspiring leader to the school staff members. He said, “I’ve always dreamed of being a principal, and now is the time.”
Rawlings went on to say, “I have worked outside of Education in management at a corporation, and while I enjoyed being in a leadership role, I really missed the students. Therefore, becoming a principal will let me function in an administrative and management role, while still getting to work with students. He said, “The main reason I want to be a principal is because I really like being around kids, and being a principal will give me a greater opportunity to do that.”
The McKay School LPP program is designed as follows:
- LPP coursework is based around the conceptual framework of professional learning communities (PLCs), collaborative groups, and organizational structure, that which has been effective for improving teaching and learning.
- During full-time internships, LPP candidate students work alongside mentor principals and their administrative teams in the full range of educational leadership tasks.
- LPP students are able to engage from start to finish in (1) co-leading long-term improvement projects, (2) solving short- and long-term problems, and (3) supervising school faculty to enhance their instructional capacity.
- The LPP program is guided by an advisory board, consisting of leaders in participating school districts, current students, past students who currently hold school leadership positions, and EDLF professors.
- The LPP program continues to evolve with education environments to meet candidates’ needs and to prepare them to be professional, effective and innovative leaders.
July 24, 2012