As I prepare to embark on my new journey from being a math teacher at Williamstown Middle High School in Vermont to become the principal of Barre City Elementary School in Vermont, there are times when I ask myself, “What am I getting myself into?” Those thoughts are usually pushed out of the way when I think about the knowledge and skills I have developed during my yearlong internship (learning on the job) and in seminars at UVEI.

Reflecting on my UVEI Principal Intern Program experience, the outstanding value has been the synchronicity between the seminars and the real-life experience of leading at Williamstown.  While I admit that it’s been a full year, the interweaving of the seminars with the internship has made all the hard work worthwhile.

For example, one day in October, the meshing of the two began to make sense. I attended a seminar on a Saturday about financial management, which seemed very out of context because leading up to this, we had been focused on distributed leadership and school change. On the following Monday, my mentor brought me to a district administrators’ budgeting meeting. This was my “aha” moment! The timing of our seminar was planned to coincide with district budgeting time to prepare me for the real life experience in my placement school.

Starting July 1st, I will become the principal of Barre City School. I know I still have a lot of learning to do; and although I will miss the synchronous occurrence of seminars and real-world leading, I am assured and ready for the challenge. I’m excited, curious and a touch nervous.

Added to all that, through the UVEI Principal Intern Program, I’ve developed a network of new colleagues — my cohort members, our mentors, principals and superintendents — who shared their on-the-job experiences, as well as the faculty at UVEI.  I know I can continue to rely on them for support as I continue to grow and learn as a leader.