The Adobe Sessions: Episode 3 

This is the third episode of The Adobe Sessions, LeadLocal’s podcast that explores what it means to learn and lead. In this episode, the superintendent and principals of the Ft. Huachuca Accommodation School District share their perspective on school leadership. This episode, the third chapter in a series exploring the BIG question: What is school leadership?, explores the relationship of school culture and climate as it relates to leadership.

Missed Episode 2?  It’s never too late to listen!

Who are they…

The Ft. Huachuca Accommodation School District is located on Fort Huachuca Army Installation and serves primarily Military/Fort dependent students and their families. In the last four years under the leadership of Superintendent Bonnie Austin, the Ft. Huachuca District has transformed its approach to school leadership by establishing the District Instructional Leadership Teams (DILT). We learned a good deal about what effective school leadership looks like from the folks at the Ft. Huachuca Schools, and since we can’t squeeze all their wisdom into one short episode of The Adobe Sessions we want to give you a chance to get to learn a little more about them. Here they are in their own words!

Bonnie Austin

I am a mother, teacher, lifelong learner and the superintendent of the Fort Huachuca Accommodation School district.  I truly believe that we are here to serve the greater good and that path for me is been through the avenue of education.

When have you been inspired to learn? I am inspired to learn daily but typically after reflecting on something I want to know more about.

What do you think is the biggest challenge facing education? Ensuring that every child of every ability is educated to meet/exceed their potential.

Sandy Larson

I am the principal of Colonel Smith Middle School on Fort Huachuca, AZ. Prior to being a principal I was a K-2 resource special education teacher. I also proudly served in the US Army. I enjoy mountain biking and traveling with my husband and two boys.

When have you been inspired to learn? My father inspired me to learn about the world through traveling and his military experience. My mother inspired me to learn more about learning disabilities and how to teach all students.

What do you think is the biggest challenge facing education? I feel the biggest challenge facing education at the middle school level is parental involvement. Once students reach middle school parental involvement decreases as parents give the students more independence. However, parental involvement and collaboration can maximize educational success throughout all grade levels.

Jennifer Truitt-Lewis

I currently serve as the proud Principal of Colonel Johnston Elementary as well as an adjunct faculty member at Northern New Mexico University. My greatest accomplishment in life is my 6-year-old son, Parker.

When have you been inspired to learn? I am always inspired to learn by the children I serve, the pre-service teachers I teach and my own little man. All of these people inspire me to keep learning so that I can be the best for them.

What do you think is the biggest challenge facing education? I believe the biggest challenge facing education is providing equity in education across the board. All students should be granted the gift of a high quality education, and I believe providing this high quality education is a current challenge.

Valerie Quarto

I am a teacher by passion and lucky enough to also be by profession.  I have worked for Fort Huachuca Accommodations Schools for 31 years and loved each year!  After almost twenty years in the classroom, I got to spend several years as a technology integration specialist with a statewide program and received training/certifications for a variety of great programs including Intel Teach and Peer Coaching.  I graduated from Grand Canyon University, MA Education Administration and am finishing up my third year as a principal.

When have you been inspired to learn? I have been most inspired to learn when students (young and adult) have asked me a question I don’t know the answer to and get to learn with them side-by-side.  Student perspective always deepens my own understanding or perspective.

What do you feel is the biggest challenge facing education? I believe the biggest challenge facing education today is the balance between accountability and the metrics that are used to determine that accountability – do they really match the intent?

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