Learn about the leadership journeys of these sitting principals. They share their successes, challenges, obstacles, and barriers in their road to leadership.
"Leadership is second only to classroom instruction among all school-related factors that contribute to what students learn at school. ... Especially when we think of leaders in formal administrative roles, the greater the challenge the greater the impact of their actions on learning" (Leithwood, 2004".
Dr. Essie McKoy is an award-winning educator, a 4X’s Amazon bestselling author, speaker, and coach! She received her Doctorate in Education and an Educational Specialist Degree from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, a Master’s Degree from Appalachian State University, and a Bachelor of Science Degree from Winston-Salem State University. She has attended many leadership programs throughout the nation from Harvard University to Howard University and has been a faculty member at three different colleges and universities. Dr. McKoy has received many awards and accolades for her service in the field of education.
She is the President and CEO of her own Educational Consulting Business, Dr. Essie Speaks. She provides coaching and consulting services in the field of education. Dr. McKoy has been featured in several magazines, articles, podcasts, and radio shows throughout the nation. She is one of the hosts on the show, “Education First,” Please visit her web site at www.dressiespeaks.com.
Dr. Sharon H. Porter (Dr. Sharon) resides in the Washington, DC area. She is the Owner of SHP Enterprise, the umbrella entity of Perfect Time SHP LLC, G.R.I.N.D. Entrepreneur Network, Write the Book Now!, and SHP Media and Broadcasting. She is the host of the I Am Dr. Sharon Show and CoFounder and Owner of Vision & Purpose (V&P) Magazine. Dr. Sharon is Executive Director of the Next in Line to Lead Aspiring Principal Academy.
Dr. Sharon is the author of The Power of Networking: How to Achieve Success With Business Networking, Next In Line to Lead: The Voice of the Assistant Principal , Class of 2017 What’s Next?” and Women Who Lead: Extraordinary Women With Extraordinary Results., The HBCU Experience Anthology, and North Carolina Girls Living In a Maryland World
Dr. Sharon has served as an educator for over 25 years, serving in the roles of classroom teacher, Curriculum Coordinator, Instructional Specialist, Test Development Specialist, assistant principal, Leadership Development Coach, and elementary and middle school principal.
She is a graduate of Howard University, Walden University, Johns Hopkins University, Nationa-lLouis University and Winston-Salem State University. Dr. Sharon holds a National Association of Elementary School Principal Mentor Certification and is a Certified Gallup-Strengths Coach.
She is a proud member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated, International Association of Women (IAW), and an Official Member of the Forbes Coaches Council, Professional Women of Winston-Salem.
Dr. Amy Miller is an educator with a strong passion for positive psychology and leadership. Amy has spent the last 19 years in public education, 14 of which have been in administration. Miller has held roles including special education teacher, assistant principal, special education director, and acting superintendent. Amy is currently an elementary principal; a role she has held for the last 9 years.
Beginning her administrative career at the early age of 25, Miller has a distinct desire to mentor new leaders and share her experiences with others. She does this through hosting principal interns, speaking engagements, and teaching at the university level. Amy enjoys studying the behavior of leaders which is evident in her 2016 research study, Are Resilient Principals More Committed to Their Work?: A Quantitative Study of Resilience and Work Commitment Among Principals in Pennsylvania.
Dr. Miller has an entrepreneurial spirit which she expresses through creative outlets including her skincare business and upcycling just about anything she can find. Miller refers to herself as a “thrifty-upcycler trapped in a professional’s body”. She loves adventure, trying new things, and meeting new people. Amy is known for her music videos she creates for fun announcements for students and parents throughout the school year.
Dr. Miller resides in Pennsylvania with her husband and two young daughters.
Natasha McDonald has been employed as a Texas Public Educator for a little over 15 years under the leadership of several phenomenal individuals. She has had the opportunity to lead as a Classroom Teacher, a Literacy Strategist, a High School Testing Coordinator, an Assistant Principal, and an Academic Dean of Instruction. She currently serves as a Campus Principal. A former Principal spent time mentoring her and ultimately inspired her to become an administrator. She is thankful that she has had the opportunity to serve in multiple roles and obtain a wealth of knowledge as each of the roles have prepared her for this moment in her leadership.
She has a passion for helping others see the best in themselves, and is very intentional about relational capacity. She absolutely loves children and understands that we must invest in them as they hold the key to our future. She juggles the roles of wife, mother, mentor, and educator while simultaneously leading an AMAZING middle school with a little less than 1000 students. She finds pleasure in learning new ways to impact student achievement, and challenges herself to address her own personal constraints daily. She is unapologetic about leading fearlessly and work to positively impact the lives of the people she serves.
She has completely embraced the growth mindset and practice being a lead learner on her campus. She is comfortable modeling the art of failing forward. When she does, she dusts herself off, adjusts her crown, and seek ways to improve. A very wise principal once told her “You don’t have to be bad to work at being better.”She is so very thankful that she “gets” to lead in this capacity and is very humbled by the charge. The ability to obtain knowledge is a remarkable gift, and she puts her heart and soul into learning new things and sharing them with others.
Mrs. Amena Moiz was born in Wyandotte, Michigan to Indian immigrants and is the oldest of three siblings. After graduating from the University of Michigan-Flint, she began the first few years of her educational career at a local Islamic school. Over the next nineteen years she proceeded to work as a middle school science teacher, assistant principal and principal in inner-city urban charter schools in Detroit, Flint, Holland, Grand Rapids and Muskegon.
Mrs. Moiz was the founding principal of a school that was recognized for Employee Engagement and Parent Satisfaction. She served as a graduate instructor at the University of Michigan-Flint for the Master of Arts teacher Certification program. She currently works as the Middle School Principal for Michigan Virtual Charter Academy in Grand Rapids, Michigan and is in her fourth year as an adjunct faculty member of the Johns Hopkins School of Education Master’s of Science in Education program. She also serves on the board of the Islamic School of Grand Rapids and recently completed the Women in Education Leadership Institute at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.
Mrs. Moiz completed her B.S. in Education at the University of Michigan-Flint along with her M.A. in Early Childhood Education. She most recently completed her M.A. in Educational Leadership from Central Michigan University.
Mrs. Moiz has been married for 22 years and has one son, Noor, who recently turned 19 and is an entrepreneur growing a business he established as a junior in high school.
Dr. Shirley P. Auguste’s career began in 1991 as a teacher’s assistant in Henrico County, VA while attending Virginia Commonwealth University for her undergraduate studies. In her 2nd year, she was placed as the Writing to Read Coordinator at the same school. It is during her years in Henrico County that she found her love of teaching and working with students in Title 1 schools. Since her humble beginnings as a teacher’s assistant, she has been in education for over 25 years and taught a combined 2nd and 3rd grade, all grade levels from PreK to 3rd grade, middle school Literature Circle, 8th grade Science, taught prep classes for GED/SAT/ACT, served as a team lead, before and after school tutoring coordinator, and served as an Assistant Principal. Dr. Auguste has served on numerous education boards such as School Advisory and the Association of Supervisory and Administration School Personnel. She has taught in a private school and in the public school systems of Virginia, Maryland, and Florida.
After being in different leadership positions, she realized she could have a greater impact by being in administration. As a result, she pursued her administration degree and earned her Master’s of Education in 2010 from Regent University. Her thesis was on “Closing the Achievement Gap between Black and White Males.” Despite the challenges and struggles of being a Black Hispanic of Haitian descent, she pushed forward and refused to give up on any of her dreams. It is her belief that she can teach others how to do better by being a positive example.
Dr. Auguste went on to acquire her doctorate degree from Capella University and wrote her 1st curriculum and defended “Developing 21st Century Leaders in K to 8th.” She believes in helping teachers see beyond the student, so they can help their students believe they can accomplish more than what is in front of them. She wants to help students learn to love themselves and education so they could become life-long learners overcome the negative stereotypes while learning how to make a positive difference.
Dr. Auguste loves to dance, travel, spending time with family and friends, and being adventurous. She credits her success as an educator and administrator to her mentors who have guided, consulted, and kept her encouraged. She is grateful for her children, family and close friends and all of their support and encouragement. She firmly believes that each person has played a role in her becoming the leader she is today and know that every life she touches it is because of the knowledge and love that has been imparted in her.
Tiawana Giles comes with a wealth of experience in leadership and education. She has served in many capacities in education from basketball coach to building principal serving over 5,000 students and 600 teachers in her over two decades in education. Principal Giles holds a Bachelor of Science from Chaminade University in Hawaii, and Masters in Reading from Bowie State University of Maryland, and a Postgraduate Certificate from the University of Richmond. She will earn a Doctorate Degree from Walden University September 2020.
Tiawana is a mother of two beautiful daughters, Jasmine Cunningham who serves her country in the U.S. Army, and Jada Cunningham who has followed her dreams of owning a Cheer Gym. She is the grandmother of Bobbi “Princess” Fulp and proud wife of Joe Giles. She resides in Virginia.
Principal Giles loves her school community where she has served as the proud principal since July 2018.
Shelley Anderson is a middle school principal in Northwest Washington, DC who has spent the past 15 years fighting to ensure that all students have equitable access to a rigorous and engaging curriculum. Her campus was recently named the only “Leveler” Ward One DC Middle School by the DC Policy Center, a distinct honor that means it is one of a handful of DC public schools to close the achievement gap and get positive results with at-risk youth.
Before relocating from Dallas, Texas to Virginia, she was an assistant principal in inner-city, mostly minority high school in Dallas. During her time there the campus earned 7 out of 7 distinctions from the state of Texas for outstanding academic achievements, and she was named Dallas ISD AVID Assistant Principal of the Year.
In addition, she has experience as an educational consultant, central office academic facilitator, campus literacy coach, and as a secondary Science, ELA, and AVID teacher.
Ms. Danielle N. Wallace has been an educational leader for over two decades. Key leadership roles include School-wide Lead Teacher, Teacher Evaluator, Instructional Coach, Curriculum Specialist, Zone Director and Principal. Ms. Wallace earned a B.S. in Montessori Education from Xavier University (1996) and two Masters in Education from the University of Cincinnati; Curriculum and Instruction (2002) and Educational Leadership (2014). She is marching toward her 25th year as an active member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated. In her “free” time, she enjoys sharing her love of jewelry with her clients, maximizing quality time with her amazing teenage daughter and bonding with her sister circle.
"If you're the smartest person in the room, you're in the wrong room." Unknown
Lydia Ryan was born in Chicago, IL and raised in the south suburbs. She is the proud life partner of Mike Menzer, daughter to two loving parents, and best friend to an older brother and younger sister.
As a first generation female college student, Lydia attended Purdue University in West Lafayette, IN, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in Secondary English Education. Upon graduation, Lydia became a high school English teacher in Chicago Public Schools. She proudly and joyfully served students on the far northwest and west sides of the city. Lydia then moved to Boston to earn her master’s in School Leadership from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Upon graduation, she returned to Chicago Public Schools where she served as an assistant principal for two years. She is now in her third year as the proud principal of Chicago Academy High School on the far northwest side: a small, diverse, caring community that Lydia is grateful to call home. In 2018, Lydia was asked to serve on the Principal Advisory Committee for Chicago Public School’s Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Janice Jackson. In 2019, Lydia was named a lead principal for the Academy for Urban School Leadership (AUSL) network in Chicago Public Schools.
Lydia is proud of the work she has done at Chicago Academy to improve student and staff feelings of safety and organization. Her focus on school culture, relationships, and trust resulted in moving the school’s organization rating to the highest level in just one year. She has led her community to record high on-track, graduation, and attendance rates. Under Lydia’s leadership, Chicago Academy High School has two active parent groups, the first in CAHS’s history. She is also proud of creating and supporting highly effective teacher teams and developing the capacity of staff members to lead those teams.
Lydia is a yogi and a runner and likes to cook, travel, and read. Lydia would not be the leader she is today without the mentorship of strong female leaders including Susan Lofton, Dr. Annise Lewis, Dr. Lynda Williams, and Pamela Cook.
Mrs. Charlene Saenz-Quarles was born in Huntington Park, California as a second-generation Mexican American. She was the first in her family to attend college. After graduating from California State University of San Bernardino, she began the first few years of her educational career serving as a Bilingual Clerk at a local middle school. Over the next ten years, she proceeded to work as a substitute teacher, high school Spanish teacher, dance team advisor, administrative designee, assistant principal and principal in suburban schools in San Bernardino, Moreno Valley, Yucaipa, Ontario, and Montclair.
Mrs. Saenz-Quarles strongly believes in community partnerships to promote student success and provide access to opportunities. While serving as a Spanish teacher she developed a community initiative to provide young women facing financial hardship with the opportunity to attend prom by partnering with local business owners and community leaders within the Moreno Valley area. She served as a founding member of a district-level committee for a program developed to support unaccompanied and foster youth throughout her district titled Winter Wonderland. She currently serves as the proud Principal of Montclair High School. This high school serves over 2,800 students and has been recognized as an AVID National Demonstration School, Title I School with Distinction, Gold Ribbon School, Golden Bell Award recipient, and a US News and World Report Silver Medalist. She also recently completed the Women in Education Leadership Institute at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.
Mrs. Saenz-Quarles completed her B.A. in Spanish - Hispanic Literature, Language and Civilization at the California State University of San Bernardino along with her M.A. in Education from Azusa Pacific University.
Mrs. Saenz-Quarles recently married her longtime companion of 14 years and has two children, an ll-year-old daughter, Bella, and a 6-year-old son, Amon. Mrs. Saenz-Quarles is reminded by her daughter, Bella, that she is capable of achieving her dreams, as Bella aspires to be the first Mexican and African American woman president of the United States of America. Her son, Amon, also inspires her to remain confident and believe in herself, as he aspires to be the most handsome boy in the first grade.
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Kirsten Clark is a Jr.-Sr. High School Principal who works with 550 students in grades 7-12 and a faculty and staff of 50 in a small, rural school in central Indiana. After spending eleven years teaching in a high school social studies classroom and four years as a high school assistant principal, Kirsten made the transition to principal at her high school alma mater and is now serving in her third year.
Kirsten is passionate about the importance of education for all students as well as the empowerment of young women. The Fierce Female Series was born from this passion and provides young ladies in her school the opportunity to hear the stories of successful women from the community and their perseverance in overcoming obstacles along the way.
Kirsten holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Studies Education from Purdue University, a Master’s Degree in Educational Technology from Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis, and her Principal Licensure from Indiana Wesleyan University.
Kirsten is married to Troy Clark, a high school art teacher, has one son, Jack, two bonus daughters, Riley and Haley, and three grandchildren, Emberlynn, Kashtyn, and Kyzer.
D. JaMese M. Black’s career in education began at Rockingham County High School, Wentworth, NC in 1998, where she was a social studies teacher. She served as a social studies teacher for seven years prior to becoming Curriculum Facilitator at Weaver Academy and Early/Middle College at Bennett in Greensboro, North Carolina, a position she held for four years. She was Assistant Principal of Instruction at Bartlett Yancey High School in Yanceyville, North Carolina from 2008-2009 and at Northeast Guilford High School in McLeansville, North Carolina from 2011-2014. She became principal of Magna Vista High School in Ridgeway, Virginia in 2014. She transformed the school to become accredited within one year. She led Magna Vista until 2017 upon her decision to step down to care for her mother. She returned to administration as Principal of East Montgomery High School in Biscoe, NC in 2018. She is the 2019-20 Principal of the Year for Montgomery County Schools. This given after her first year in the district and turning around her school within the year to make growth.
Black holds a Master’s degree in Educational Leadership and a Bachelor of Arts degree in History and English from High Point University.
JaMese is the wife of Marquis Ron “Rico” Black and the mother their twin boys: Ocir JaRon and Zyon JaRiq Black. She is the daughter of Rev. James and Sallie Morris-Redd; both have crossed into eternity. She is the youngest of three- Derrick JaSal Morris and Rev. DaRon JeSie Morris hold the title of her brothers.