New Pinellas deputy tells teachers to become leaders
On Friday morning, Pinellas's newly-minted deputy superintendent, Bill Corbett, asked a roomful of teachers to please remain seated if they loved VAM, the portion of their evaluations based on students' FCAT scores.
It was a good way to get everyone on their feet.
Teachers from Pinellas, Pasco and Hillsborough counties were invited to a workshop Thursday and Friday, dubbed the Teacher Leader's Institute, at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg.
Through breakout sessions and speakers like Corbett, the goal was to help teachers think of themselves as movers and shakers within their own schools.
Though Lisa Grant, the director of professional development for Pinellas, and Pinellas Superintendent Michael Grego were both scheduled to address the teachers Friday morning, neither ultimately made it. Grant was at technology training in Orlando; Grego's absence was unexplained. [Update June 18: A spokeswoman says Grego was at a conference in Tampa.]
But Corbett filled in, opening with this nugget: "My wife is one of the best teachers in Pinellas County, so I have my PLC every evening." (PLC, for the uninitiated, stands for Professional Learning Communities, when teachers in the same department develop lesson plans together and share advice. "We've got acronyms coming out the ying yang," Corbett later acknowledged of the education field.)
Corbett urged the teachers to become leaders in their schools, hearkening back to his own time as a principal.
"As a principal I can close my eyes and think about that one teacher, where if all my teachers would be that, my school would rock," said Corbett, adding that "I can guarantee you me and Dr. Grego spend most of our time thinking about this."
He brought up VAM to illustrate the slew of new education initiatives coming from politicians and national perches; in the latter case, the common core.
"I don't know that they can throw more at us, but they're throwing it at us, and when they throw it at us, it's coming at you," he said. "The only way we're going to get through it is with strong teacher leaders."