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Calcasieu educators gather for summit

Last Modified: Wednesday, July 30, 2014 12:37 PM

By Kara Carrier / American Press

More than 300 Calcasieu Parish school system educators gathered at the Civic Center on Tuesday for the first day of the district’s Leadership Summit.

The two-day event, organized by the curriculum and instruction department, was offered to principals, assistant principals and other district leaders. School system officials said the summit provides tools and knowledge to help schools and departments succeed and updates them on district initiatives.

The summit featured keynote speaker Todd Whitaker, author and professor of educational leadership at Indiana State University. He spoke to the group about what makes a great leader.

“Great leaders treat everybody with respect and dignity every single day,” Whitaker said. “Great teachers treat every student with respect and dignity every single day — not based on our mood and not based on the last vacation or the next vacation.”

Whitaker said the crowd was enthusiastic, interested and receptive to his ideas. He said all educators want to be good at their jobs and that his mission is to help them continue to refine their skill set.

Pamela Bell, principal at J.D. Clifton Elementary, said Whitaker was inspiring and that she is looking forward to supporting and empowering her staff to increase test scores and teaching them the new student learning targets.

“I want to be the kind of leader that is truly a visionary for my school,” Bell said. “I want to make sure that the teachers, students and parents understand the vision that we have at J.D. Clifton Elementary. It takes all of us working together and being in alignment ... so that we can truly be successful.”

Owen Clanton, principal at F.K. White Elementary, said he attended because he was only about one month into his first principal position. He said he’s read books about effective teachers and administrators but wanted to get tips from Whitaker in person.

“You don’t often get an opportunity to hear an expert in a field of identifying great traits versus not-so-great traits,” Clanton said. “I am excited and inspired. I want to take the accountability that is my job and create a culture and atmosphere to support each other so that we will raise each other up.”

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