Posted by Dr. Beth Reaves
No. 1 Our Students
I’ve always loved school, and I believe a life spent learning is a life well spent. But when I was in elementary school, I was a shy and quiet student who tried to go unnoticed in the classroom. Fortunately, my school environment was extremely supportive, and my teachers encouraged me and helped me to gain confidence in myself. As a student at an all-girls high school, I began to recognize the importance of my early learning experience in helping me find my voice and understand who I was as a young woman on the verge of adulthood. This understanding allowed me to thrive and to meet the high standards and expectations held by my teachers and parents.
Having earned several advanced degrees and having built a career in education, I am definitely a lifelong learner. Moreover, I enjoy being with students who are on their own educational journey. When I am with our students, I am reminded of myself as a young girl: unsure at times, trying to fit in, yet learning to shine with encouragement and support from the adults around me. That is why, my number one joy the past school year has been spending time with our students.
I love visiting our classrooms and seeing our students and teachers in action. It gives me a chance to experience the amazing work of our program firsthand, and to see our students’ come alive as they explore literature, the arts, history, and science. I enjoy watching students learn new skills using technological tools and expand their minds with each lesson learned. Going on field trips and experiencing the world outside of the classroom with students, I share in their excitement and delight in the spark of curiosity I see in their eyes. Even when I am helping students learn from their mistakes (because we all make mistakes), I am grateful for the opportunity to help them rebound and navigate forward as the teachers and mentors in my life did for me.
Seeing our students grow and developing a relationship with them gives meaning and value to the work I do as President of the school. As a self-professed bookworm, I especially enjoy connecting with students over books they enjoy reading now. This year, I joined our middle school students in reading The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas, which was recommended by my own teenaged daughter. I was able to engage students in discussions on why the book resonates so deeply with them and how it mirrors their own feelings and perspectives on the world. Through their eyes I learned what it means to be a young woman in today’s society. And I learned what it means to be a leader to this bright, eager, and bold generation of women.