Saturday, May 9, 2009

Life at the Top

In 2001, I secured a year's leave of absence from DoDDS to take a position with the AVID Center as the Director of Professional Development at their Eastern Division office in Atlanta, Georgia. It was an exciting year professionally as I was in charge of all the professional development for AVID in states east of the Mississippi.

It's all a little fuzzy now, but, according to my VITA, "In this capacity, I designed and delivered staff development models and support, including AVID Summer Institute strands, staff developer selection and training, provision of professional development and ongoing support for AVID Regional Directors, development of online resources including a weekly e-newsletter and an online discussion group, development and updating of program and training materials; assumed responsibility for quality AVID implementation efforts by assisting directors with ongoing program and local professional development, developing and assigning technical support to meet local needs, oversight for certification processes and outcomes, dispensing program development advice, working with school boards and district and state administrators, assisting with alignment of state standards and AVID; overall coordination and leadership of the Eastern Division AVID Summer Institutes (over 1000 participants), including facilities coordination, strand content standards, staff developer materials and training guidelines, special events and ceremonies, and evaluation; communicated AVID's mission and unique capabilities to various external constituencies via media, direct personal communications, publication, proposals, and Awareness Sessions; and worked effectively with AVID Center personnel to provide positive motivation and inspiration at local, regional, state, national and international levels. Additionally, I worked closely with the College Board Florida Partnership program to bring the AVID program into Florida under their auspices in order to increase enrollment and success in Advanced Placement courses."

Wow! I did all that? It was a very busy year, and I learned so, so much. Some of the things that aren't on the VITA were more memorable. I traveled to Worcester, MA for AVID and found The College of the Holy Cross for my daughter Alison. I paid my first visit to New York City on an AVID trip and then walked the entire perimeter of the still-smouldering World Trade Center (see bottom of page). I represented AVID as a Distinguished Speaker at the Military Child Education Coalition conference in Tampa. I used my first walkie-talkie at the Atlanta Hilton and also got to stay in an executive suite. I met the granddaughter of George Washington Carver at the AVID banquet at Lithonia High School outside of Atlanta. I had the privilege to meet and work with three incredible and inspirational AVID students who were immigrants from Poland, the Ivory Coast, and Mexico. And I got to work all year long with Mary Catherine Swanson and the fantastic staff of the AVID Centers.

In the end, though, I missed Europe, DoDDS, the classroom, and teaching. I had to go back.


  1. Wow! Did we really ask you to do all that? I think we must all have been incredibly busy and happy as well knowing that it was "the good work." Mary Catherine

  2. OMG, I don't remember you ever telling me you saw the remains of the World Trade Center. What an experience, what did you feel? I know you're saying, "what?", but being there, the smells, atmosphere, attitude, surrounding area and other people make such an impression.
    Well, being from the corn belt I would be saying "you're on the last rows," and another chapter in your life will end, what a ride.


  3. WoW!!! I'm impressed...........not by all of the educational mumbo-jumbo---I already knew how great you are!!!! But by your field trip to NYC the fact that you walked the "entire perimeter of the still-smoldering WTC". I never knew that about could I have not known that?!?! That's awesome and such an impression it must have made on your heart.

  4. I think you should be working on an autobiography. Or. . .you should write a book about all your experiences involving students and overseas life.


    Barbara Ferg-Carter, Ed.D.
    Mediterranean District Office