Education Perspectives

Ep 23 Amy Breeding McVey, Vice President Improvement Services, Cognia, Inc.

December 14, 2023 Liza Holland Season 1 Episode 23
Education Perspectives
Ep 23 Amy Breeding McVey, Vice President Improvement Services, Cognia, Inc.
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Show Notes Transcript

PODCAST EPISODE 23

Amy Breeding McVey

Vice President Improvement Services, Cognia, Inc.

Quote of the Podcast – 

"Learning and growth have no finish line" - John Maxwell

Introduction of Guest BIO – 

Amy McVey currently serves as Vice President of Improvement Services with Cognia, a nonprofit supporting institutions, teachers, leaders, and learners in all areas of continuous school improvement and professional learning across the globe. A 35-year veteran in education, Amy has experience as a primary and intermediate teacher, curriculum coach, and principal. Before joining Cognia, she was the principal of Veterans Park Elementary, an NCLB Blue Ribbon School, and Dixie Elementary School, both in Lexington, Kentucky. She also served on and chaired the AdvancED/SACS CASI Kentucky Council, as well as participated as a voting member on the AdvancED National Accreditation Commission. Amy holds a Bachelor’s Degree in elementary education from Eastern Kentucky University, a Master’s Degree in Elementary Education from Georgetown College, and a School Leadership Certification from the University of Kentucky. As a lifelong learner, she is currently a student in the Education Systems Improvement Doctoral Program at the University of South Carolina. With her work at Cognia, Amy now gets the privilege of supporting teachers and educational leaders with strategic thinking and planning, leadership development, student engagement, and other professional learning opportunities.

Interview

Agents of Change: Leaders/Innovators

  • 30,000 ft. view – Why do we, as a society invest in education?
  • Tell us about your education journey?
  • How would you like to see school change?
  • Tell us a story or favorite memory about your time in school?
  • What are the biggest challenges or obstacles you face?
  • What would you like decision makers to know?

Podcast/book shoutouts

The Marshall Memo - https://marshallmemo.com/ A great way for school leaders and educators to keep up with the current research

I don't even know where to start with books. Reading is one of my favorite things to do! My goal is to read 75 books this year, and I finished number 73 on Saturday (October 28), so I think I will make it! You can follow my reading on Instagram @abmlikesthis I usually have at least two books going at the same time... one audio and at least one 'real' book... one just for fun and one for learning. 

So for this list I will stick with some of my favorite non-fiction reads: 

Developing the Leader Within You - By John Maxwell 

The Four Agreements - By Peter Coyote 

The Alchemist - By Paulo Coelho 

Make Your Bed - By Admiral William H. McRaven 

The Betrayal Of Anne Frank - By Rosemary Sullivan 

Boone - By Robert Morgan 

Upstream - By Dan Heath 

The Power of Moments - By Chip Heath & Dan Heath 

Good to Great - By Jim Collins 

If You Don't Feed the Teachers They Eat the Students! Guide to Success for Administrators and Teachers - By Neila A. Conners 

The Coaching Habit Say Less, Ask More, & Change the Way You Lead Forever - By Michael Bungay Stanier

Support the show

Education Perspectives is edited by Shashank P athttps://www.fiverr.com/saiinovation?source=inbox

Intro and Outro by Dynamix Productions

Liza Holland [00:00:02]:

Welcome to education perspectives. I am your host, Liza Holland. This is a podcast that explores the role of education in our society from a variety of lenses. Education needs to evolve to meet the needs of today and the future. Solving that huge issues requires understanding. Join me as we begin to explore the many perspectives of education. Amy McVey currently serves as the vice president of improvement services with Cognia, a nonprofit supporting institutions, teachers, leaders, and learners in all areas of continuous school improvement and professional learning across the globe. A 35 year veteran in education, Amy has experience as a primary and intermediate teacher, curriculum coach, and principal.

Liza Holland [00:00:53]:

Before joining Cognia, she was the of Veterans Park Elementary and NCLB Blue Ribbon School and Dixie Elementary School, both in Lexington, Kentucky. She also served on and chaired the AdvanceED SACSC CASI Kentucky Council, as well as participated as a voting member in the Advance Ed National Accreditation Commission. Amy holds a bachelor's degree in elementary education from Eastern Kentucky University, A master's degree in elementary education from Georgetown College and a school leadership certification from the University of Kentucky. As a lifelong learner, she is currently a student in the education systems improvement doctoral program at the University of South Carolina. With her work at Cognia, Amy now gets the privilege of supporting teachers and educational leaders with strategic thinking and planning, leadership development, student engagement, and other professional learning opportunities. Well, Amy McVeigh, welcome to Education Perspectives.

Amy McVey [00:01:56]:

Thank you. I am excited, to get to talk with you today, Liza.

Liza Holland [00:02:00]:

Me too. Me too. You were such a major Role model for me when I had the started the education journey with my kids as, as principal of their elementary school. So it's Fun to kinda come full circle and speak with you again.

Amy McVey [00:02:15]:

Well, it's great. I enjoyed working with you when you were a parent volunteer and and all your leadership you took in PTA at all levels. So it was great to watch you grow and do that as well along with your kids. That was the fun part.

Liza Holland [00:02:28]:

Exactly. Exactly. Okay. So the first question I ask every guest is from a 30,000 foot view, why do we, as a society, invest in education?

Amy McVey [00:02:40]:

Well, that is a hard question, but a great question because I think we, as a society, Know the importance of education and the doors that it opens for our kids, but what I think has Changed and even before COVID, but now especially because of the pandemic, is that the Possibilities with education are endless. It's not the traditional education that we grew up with that, You know, my parents grew up with that we're both educators, but it's the possibilities that we have just across The world and those doors that open for kids because they have an education, and our education is not Based on on, you know, facts, and and I can even remember before I retired, and I've been retired from public schools for 7 years. My husband says I fake retired because I have another full time job. So but I can remember saying then, If you can Google it, you know, we don't need to spend time on it anymore. And now with AI, it's a whole different world because More so than ever, education is important because we've got to teach kids to be able to think and problem solve And work together and use critical thinking skills at a level that we've never seen before. So that education, While it has changed, it's vital to the success of our kids and then to us and our society.

Liza Holland [00:04:17]:

Absolutely. So tell us a little bit about your own personal education journey. What drew you to education, and, what have you done since then?

Amy McVey [00:04:25]:

Well, it's a kinda funny story. Both my parents were educators. My dad was a principal for 35 years. My mom was a teacher. And I went to college and I absolutely was not gonna be an educator because I had grown up in that, in a small town In Kentucky and, you know, it the school was very much part of the community. So I had been volunteered. I did all kinds of things in My dad's elementary school growing up, and so I was not gonna be an educator. And so I went to school pre law And got a paralegal and got through about 2 semesters, and I thought, I don't wanna do this.

Amy McVey [00:05:06]:

I don't want to Spend my time in the office. I wanna work with people and kids, and so I, Changed my major to elementary education and went home and told my parents. And so, that was kinda it. And from there, I was never Gonna be a principal because I had lived that with my dad my whole life and saw that. And I think about 5 years in, I thought, I'm really gonna be a principal because if I can make a difference in my classroom, imagine what I can do if I can help teachers Make a difference in every classroom. And that to me was the perfect job because you got to work with kids, you got to work with parents, Community, teachers, and so that was just a wonderful job. And so I did that for 16 years at 2 elementary schools in Lexington, So that was great. And I retired, and I accidentally took a full time job with Cognia.

Amy McVey [00:06:08]:

So Cognia is a as a school improvement organization. So we, a lot of people know us for accreditation, but we're so much more than accreditation and I'm very lucky because I get to work on the professional learning side. So I get to solution and problems to solve with schools and school leaders And districts, leaders, and state departments around how we can help them with their continuous improvement. And then even more exciting than that is I get to go in and work with schools. So I work with lots of schools. Next week, I'm on my way to North Dakota To work on a reservation there with a school that I've had a couple of years with around strategic thinking and planning and how they can Leverage that strategic thinking and planning to truly move the needle in a very remote place with a lot of obstacles, and how can they think out of the box to do that. And on top of that and that job, I also have decided that probably I need to to do a little education myself and so I am in the doctoral program at the University of South Carolina Doing improvement science. So, I've already, a couple classes in, learned so much.

Amy McVey [00:07:22]:

My team's probably tired of me saying, hey. Have we thought about this? So I think that's the other thing about education. It you just can't stop. And I don't wanna say I'm a lifelong learner because everybody says that, But you're constantly learning, and it's just so important to what you do.

Liza Holland [00:07:40]:

You know, I know that sometimes it sounds trite, but I really, really think That that's one of the things that needs to change in school is that focus to let Kids know that you're always gonna be continually learning because we're I've listened to a number of employers, and they tell me that there's The skill sets that they are really looking for is someone who can learn, unlearn, and relearn.

Amy McVey [00:08:07]:

Absolutely.

Liza Holland [00:08:08]:

And that's gotta keep coming.

Amy McVey [00:08:09]:

Well, I was really fortunate. We had Cognite had a leadership summit just a couple weeks ago, and we brought in John Maxwell to meet with some school leaders in our office in Alpharetta, and I wrote down John Maxwell said, learning and growth has no finish line. And, you know, that's different. That's a real mindset shift for everybody because we've always had take the Class, get the grade, move on. Take the class, get the grade, move on. And there really isn't a finish line. You we're not gonna get there. It's gonna change and evolve, and that's so important.

Liza Holland [00:08:46]:

And, you know, the old system is not terribly compatible with all of those skill sets that you were talking about before, the need For critical thinking and collaboration and and process and problem solving, all those types of skills are Not terribly compatible with learn a little, get an a, move on.

Amy McVey [00:09:05]:

So Exactly.

Liza Holland [00:09:06]:

That's so cool. So tell me why you think it's for groups like yours to be able to come in and assess schools and share outside knowledge with them in their learning and planning process.

Amy McVey [00:09:23]:

Well, I always tell everybody, you know, we can see our faults and we think we see our faults and our successes. And but to have someone else look at that and then be able to give you a unbiased Opinion of that and with suggestions and with success, that's one of the things about Cognia. We've been working With, for instance, diagnostic reviews in Kentucky for a number of years, and we've seen great success with that process where we identify those root causes for schools, and then we help them with, okay, what's the plan? How can you address these? Because It becomes very overwhelming in a school very quickly because everything's being piled on schools right now. And To be able to identify, okay, here's some issues. Here are the things you're doing really well, and let's build on those. But let's also look at, okay, what can we leverage to make a difference, and what are some successful strategies that we can help, you do to build that. And I think one of the things that I love about the job and I love is that We really build those relationships. And so not only do we build relationships with the schools and districts and and people we're working with, That we model that they've got to build relationships.

Amy McVey [00:10:47]:

I, many years ago, worked with the principal mentor, Principal internship in the state of Kentucky when I was a principal. And the hardest people to mentor Were the people who knew the answers or knew how to do school improvement, so they just wanted to come in and tell everybody how to do it, and didn't to build the relationships. And so, a lot of times, those new principles that really struggled were the ones that I had to say, Wait a minute. Back up. You gotta have a relationship first. You know, the teachers, the parents, the community, they've got to buy in to what you're doing. You may be exactly right, but you gotta take them with you. And so, I think we've gotta stop and look and even more so, You know, go back to the skills.

Amy McVey [00:11:36]:

If you talk to the employers now, they want People that have those communication skills. My daughter-in-law works for Amazon, and she Supervises a ton of people, but she has to be able to communicate with them virtually all the time. They're all remote. So lots of different skills That aren't those facts you can Google anymore.

Liza Holland [00:12:01]:

Absolutely. The, the landscape, it is a changing and, Not to mention the global pandemic that threw everything in into the virtual world. That is amazing. You were so kind as to suggest that I get involved with Cognia to be a part of a diagnostic team. And so this week, I have been going through all of the training Online basis. And one of the things that really sticks out to me is that relationship piece, and it's also the Positive focus that you take because, you know, educate suffered from consultants swooping in and having the next great shiny thing to do, and and educators try to get on board with it, and then it's on to the next thing because it's not even there. So I think there's a lot of fatigue out there about the next new shiny thing in education. Do you find that that plays out as you're working with the schools that Focus on looking at where your strengths are and then also where you might be able to build and improve.

Amy McVey [00:13:03]:

Well, I think What Cognia really has going for me, and I don't want to at all make it a commercial for Cognia even though I'm I am Passionate about what we do is our standards. So everything's based on our standards, and our standards are all research based. So when you look at that and you say, okay. We're doing this because we know this is The best for our kids in our schools, and that's what they focus on, and you can draw people back to something, then It's no longer the latest program, the latest consultant, the latest. It we draw everything back to our standards. So whether We're doing accreditation, whether we're doing diagnostic review, whether we're doing professional learning about student engagement. We're looking How does this support our standards? Because our standards are research based. And I think it's so important when you look at our standards to know that We research and review them every 6 years.

Amy McVey [00:14:05]:

So they're not something that was created and it's here forever, But it's fresh and new, and sometimes people struggle with that, and the adults. Because they say, you know, okay. Why are you changing your standards? Well, Look where we've been in the past 5 years. So why wouldn't we change? It's kinda like the saying, when you know better, you do better. And so I don't like to tell my age, but when I was first so my dad was very involved in SAC, Southern Association, which is where Cognia came from, and I can remember him doing school visits, his school being accredited. So when I became a principal, There was no discussion. I mean, my school would be accredited, period. End of story.

Amy McVey [00:14:53]:

And I'm proud to say Veterans Park Elementary is Still the only accredited elementary school in Lexington. And so but one of the standards at that time was how many library books You had an so you actually had to count library books. So see how far our standards have come now that they focus on the Culture of learning, the leadership for learning, engagement of learning, and growth in learning. So a big shift Because we know better now. We you know, my dad, when he was a principal, was a manager. And now we know that, yes, you still gotta manage that stuff, but you've truly got to be the instructional leader for your building.

Liza Holland [00:15:34]:

You know, the pace of change is So crazy, and changing a an institution like education is it's not an easy thing to do because There are so many rules and regulations and standards and all that kind of a thing. I'd love to get your thoughts on where we are as far as Assessments are concerned because I really feel like you get what you measure for because if, You know, all the teachers, all the principals, all the district people, they're going to be focused on assessments. We just had our Kentucky assessments come out this past week. But it concerns me that are we measuring for the right things anymore? It's kind of like your comment about if you can Google it, It's not necessary for us to spend time on it because we do. We all walk around with the Internet in our pockets now, and it's It's a lot more about process and a a little more challenging to assess, but I'd love your thoughts and, you know, what you've heard out there as Far as what we might be able to do to bring the assessment side of school up to this Current time.

Amy McVey [00:16:46]:

Well, I think that's a really hard question because, you know, with no child left behind and the iterations that followed after that since COVID, there's been that accountability, and what is that accountability model? But we've also seen in Kentucky again leading the way, ways to look at what local accountability could look like. And so doctor Lou Young and leads that Work in Kentucky, you know, they have a committee that's looking at that, and how what's it look like? How can we hold schools accountable, But with local accountability. What you know, because as I work with schools all across the United States, here's the comment I hear every time. Yes. We know you have a solution for that. We know we've seen the work you've done, but our school's different. And that's true. I mean, it's not, You know, it's in the beginning, I thought, well, is your school really different? But, yes, your school is different.

Amy McVey [00:17:44]:

You know? I'm working with a district in North Dakota, and we we've worked really hard on strategic thinking and planning, and the kindergarten teacher left. And it's pivotal That they have a strong kindergarten teacher in this small, tribal school in, rural North Dakota, they're 70 miles from a Walmart. And so, I mean, it's just devastating when something like that happens. And what's the next Step. I told my husband I was gonna move to North Dakota and teach kindergarten again because that also probably was one of my favorite jobs. But I think, You know, what is success? What's local accountability look like? And then really looking at instead of that Summative end of the year assessment, that one snapshot. How are we using curriculum based assessments? I heard doctor Elgar, our CEO, talk just just this week about, you know, are schools using curriculum based Assessments that are truly assessing what the teachers have taught, have the students learn that, and can we move on? Instead of That summative that we look at that's the whole year and really looking at getting down to what makes The difference, we talk a lot about not formative assessments, but a formative process to assess Because we've got to know where kids are and what they need instead of that blanket. Everybody needs the same thing.

Liza Holland [00:19:21]:

True. And I tell you, with the kids today having grown up in the Internet world that we have, they're looking and demanding that customization, and it's One size fits all does not work anymore.

Amy McVey [00:19:34]:

No. And so when we look at that, one of the challenges we have to look at, Maybe you're gonna ask me this next, is how do we retain our teachers? You know, because our teachers were not trained that way. And so on top of all the things we're asking teachers to do, we're also asking teachers to have a real mindset shift in what education looks like. And so I think sometimes they get left out of that what it's gonna look like. We do a lot of professional learning around mindset, and that mindset starts with Dweck's work and what is it, What's your mindset? Because if you want your kid your school to have a growth mindset, then Do you have 1? And a lot of times, teachers all of a sudden are like, wait a minute. You know? Those phrases I've used, The language I've used for years years really is not a growth mindset. And then really a lot talking with our parents and community. We leave them out sometimes When we talk about mindset because we're talking about the school and the teacher, but as parents, sometimes, you know, we set our kids up because We don't have that growth mindset for kids either.

Amy McVey [00:20:48]:

Mhmm.

Liza Holland [00:20:49]:

No. I agree with you completely, and I also think that we think a little small When it comes to parents and community and whatnot, hey. We wanna involve you. What's your what are your thoughts? Okay. We're gonna take care of it now. As opposed to really building authentic partnership, I'm working now in the space with, with business and industry, and one of their complaints is by the time Your kids graduate the, you know, the stuff you're teaching them is obsolete. Well okay. I know.

Liza Holland [00:21:16]:

We live in a really fast paced world. How can we build systems To bring that new knowledge to our teachers because the teachers are professionals. They know how to teach. They know how to break down information, all those types of things, But they don't know what they don't know, you know, and we can't expect that of them. I like that, you know, you that retention piece Because it is. It's a complete mindset shift in how to how to approach, and the types of kids that you're teaching today are not the same As you were teaching 10, 20 years ago, they just they have different mindsets.

Amy McVey [00:21:52]:

Well and 2, you know, we've gotta look at higher ed and and what are we What are teachers learning? What are leaders learning in higher ed? I'm in this improvement science program in the University of South Carolina. In 2 classes, I've learned so much that is applicable to what I'm doing, which I'm gonna say years ago, probably when I was in school, not a lot of it applied. When I graduated from college and got my 1st job in January, so, you know, went in the middle of the year in 5th grade in Eastern Kentucky, A lot of what I learned in college did not apply.

Liza Holland [00:22:29]:

Mhmm.

Amy McVey [00:22:30]:

And so I think higher ed's really looking at that, but we've got to partner together to get there.

Liza Holland [00:22:36]:

You know, it's such a multilayered process. It really is. And I think that The higher you go and getting into a doctoral program, you're hearing the cutting edge types of things, but maybe not so much for the, you know, the entering freshman in undergrad. So there's there's room for continuous improvement for all of us.

Amy McVey [00:22:56]:

Yes. Oh, look. You know that's because that's what we say. It is continuous improvement.

Liza Holland [00:23:01]:

Absolutely. So I'm a communicator, and I think Stories are incredibly powerful. Can you tell us a story or a favorite memory about, your time working in education?

Amy McVey [00:23:11]:

There's just so many. And, You know, having parents that were educators, my mother said in the beginning, she said, you need to write them down. I wanted your dad to write them down and he never wrote them down. You need to write them down. And so I here I am, you know, 35 years later, That same spot my dad was and I didn't write anything down. So I think my Favorite memories or stories about education were really just when I was in the classroom. And When I got to work with kids and you saw a pinpoint that moment, but I can say I can think of lots of moments When you saw kids really succeed and a taught of variety of levels, a taught, 5th grade, a taught 1st, 2nd, Kindergarten, and you just saw that, oh my goodness, I can do this. I can get it.

Amy McVey [00:24:05]:

And giving kids those that confidence that they can do it And just that understanding that they can do it is makes a world of difference. And then I think To now in this role working with lots of different schools, I feel like, I have the opportunity to impact bigger programs. And if I can just, again, go back to those relationships. You know, it's Often, you know, once I'm in a school, I kinda joke they have me forever because, you know, 2 years later, When they need somebody to bounce something off, they call again and say, hey. Hey, Amy. Have you thought about this? If I did this, would would this work? You know? So it's those relationships. I can't say, oh, this is my absolutely favorite memory. I can tell lots The funny stories, I and I can go all the way back to my dad.

Amy McVey [00:25:01]:

So my dad and I I one of my favorite, I was sitting before I was a teacher, I was sitting out in high school. I was sitting outside my dad's office, and he had a little boy in his office that was in trouble. And I don't remember what the little boy did, but he said My dad just, like, gave him his best pep talk about why he needed to really just apply himself and, you know, his parents were counting on him and it was So important. Well, my dad was an avid hunter, and he had a stuffed pheasant on the, wall On the side of in his office. And so my dad gave his best pep talk and he said to the little boy, he said, now do you understand why this is so important? Little boy said, Mister Breeding, is that bird real? And we outside of the office just started laughing because we thought, you know, everything dad had said was not important to that He had one focus, was that bird real? And, you know, to me, I use that story sometimes when I'm talking to principals and teachers and I'm like, okay. Is what we're doing relevant, or is it just going right over everybody's head because we just wanna know if the bird's real. We don't care about all this other stuff, and sometimes we just have to slow down and think about, are we relevant?

Liza Holland [00:26:16]:

I think that's really wise advice, and it comes back to that meeting kids where they are. Mhmm. Because if they don't have, You know, some of their basic needs met, they're not necessarily going to be open to learning. And that's the relationship piece again is getting to know them well enough to be able to The oh, something happened. What's going on? Do you need to talk? You know, whatever that is. Because once they really know that you care about them, then they're willing to work for you.

Amy McVey [00:26:45]:

Absolutely.

Liza Holland [00:26:46]:

That's so special. Yeah. So we talked a little bit about the fact that education is a big boat turn. What are the biggest challenges and obstacles that you're facing from the perspective you're seeing things now?

Amy McVey [00:26:58]:

Well, you know, I hate to Pick what everybody's picking, but I think it all goes to teacher retention at this point. You know, there's and Probably bigger than teacher retention in how we're supporting our teachers so that we can retain our teachers, and I've touched on it a little bit. But, you know, it's teaching has always been an incredibly hard job. It's always been much more than a 40 hour week, And everybody knows that, and it's not summers off like people think. And I think now for teachers and even Kids coming out of college, there are so many options, and we've got to think about what we're doing for teachers to and not just teacher training, but social emotionally for teachers to support teachers So that we can keep the best and the brightest teachers. You know, it is nothing now for kids to have 3, 4, 5. I've lost Count of how many son jobs my son's had since he graduated from college. I think he's got one now that sticks because he works for himself.

Amy McVey [00:28:08]:

So that's a positive. But I think, you know, we don't understand that at a little past middle age because We're used to you became a teacher and you were a teacher for 30 years. That's the end. And now our teachers have lots of options. So what are we doing to support teachers? The whole teacher, not just the teacher education, but The social and emotional. I think that's the biggest challenge I see right now is I just see lots of really tired teachers, And we just continue to add to what they're doing. So when I do a professional learning, I always say, you know, If you're a teacher, thank you for being here. Thank you for learning.

Amy McVey [00:28:52]:

And my goal is that when you leave today, you have something you can use tomorrow Because you don't have time to figure it out right now.

Liza Holland [00:28:59]:

You know, I really I keep hearing in so many different aspects in my life about that start small To get big. And I think that there are so many small things that we could do that would make teachers' lives better. And I think that that puts a whole lot of a different onus on the principles to be really in charge of the health and wellness of the staff in the building, Not just physically, but mentally as well.

Amy McVey [00:29:26]:

And I'll I would be remiss if I didn't say leadership retention is just as big a problem. I mean, the a the average age of principals, I've not seen the data, but I can tell you it's a lot younger. And, you know, the number of new principals, new superintendents. We work with the school, and then the next year, that superintendent's gone, and the next year, that superintendent's gone, and the next year, You know, just a a vicious cycle because that's a a terrible hard job too. And if you don't have that consistent leadership, You know, we talk a lot when we look at our standards, are the practices embedded in what you do? And if you have constant leadership change, And those processes cannot become embedded. And so, you know, we gotta look at our leaders too. We do a lot at Cognia To support leaders a lot of creative different ways because leaders need that support too. And leadership is a lonely job in education Because as a principal, you know, there's nobody else in your building that understands what you're doing.

Amy McVey [00:30:30]:

I, always Made me smile. When I was a principal, we didn't have assistant principals. We call them professional staff assistance In Lexington, Kentucky, and so, you know, a teacher would say I'm interested in leadership and we work with them and they they become this Professional staff assistant. So basically, an assistant principal. And the 1st couple months, they just went as fast as they could go, and it's Probably 2, 3 months, never failed. They'd come sit down in my office and they'd say, I need to apologize. And I go, apologize? And I go, yeah. I had no idea when I was a teacher what was going on.

Amy McVey [00:31:11]:

I am so sorry that I bothered you with those problems Because I had no idea. I mean, I can just still I can see a couple of them, their face, just like, I am so Sorry. So, you know, I think nobody really understands till you walked in those shoes, but I think leaders, it's a lonely job and it's Hard to understand, and so we gotta support our leaders too.

Liza Holland [00:31:36]:

Absolutely. So final question, what would you like for decision makers to know?

Amy McVey [00:31:41]:

Well, I thought about that question. You know, you gave me a heads up a little bit, and I thought about that. And I thought, I really love for decision makers To get in our schools and see what's going on in our schools because I think we live in a day and age where We lean toward the negative. And so we see the bad news reports. We see the bad things that happen and bad things happen everywhere. I'm not gonna take away from that at all. But there's a lot more good going on and we don't see that as much. We don't focus on that.

Amy McVey [00:32:18]:

We don't click on that. And I think if I could say anything to the decision makers, I'd say spend time in schools. And I'm very lucky in this job because as a a vice president for improvement services, I do a lot Of problem solving the schools, but I've also said to my leaders, I wanna be in schools because that's the only way I can be relevant And understand I can't help school's problem solving solution if I haven't been there in a couple years, if I haven't seen it. And so every time I go and every time I work on a project, whether I'm in North Carolina in a charter school or Florida or North Dakota, I learned just as much from them as I hope they learn from me about what's going on in the day to day. And I just think so often, if If schools if our decision makers spent some time in schools, they would see that as well. And so I think it's vital that we not just listen to the educators, but that we really spend time in school. That's what I would say. I over the years, being a principal for 16 years, I saw a lot of different board members and we had in Lexington, I think it Called Leadership Lexington, and they assigned them to a school.

Amy McVey [00:33:40]:

And I they were always they had no idea what happened In a school from the principal's perspective inside the school, they had it from the parent perspective or the student perspective or But so it was always great, to see that. So I would say to decision makers, get in schools, visit, volunteer. You know, it went all the way back to when I was a classroom teacher and I carried this over when I was a principal. You know, if I had a parent That didn't like what was going on or didn't think they liked what was going on in my classroom, I would say come volunteer. You know what? It's gonna help 2 things. 1, you're gonna see what I'm doing and understand it because sometimes it gets distorted from school to home just like From home to school gets, mixed up a little, but I said and 2, you know, that's gonna give me some insight on the kids and what they need. And so I will say it never backfired on me. If a parent was upset or had questions and, like, I could get them in to volunteer, Then they were like, oh, this makes sense.

Amy McVey [00:34:47]:

And so then when I became a principal, I said that all the time. I said, you know what? That parent, You know, doesn't understand what's going on, invite him in to read, to just sit in the back and cut something while you're because we don't teachers don't have anything to hide. And when we can work together, that just makes all the difference in the world. So I would say get in a school.

Liza Holland [00:35:10]:

I have to echo that. I think that that's So much of my own personal learning journey happened from getting into school and then getting into other schools and then starting to see All the different breadth and depth of things, and that's honestly the inspiration for this podcast was I noticed that the perception of School and what problems are and what types of things are important changed from person to person and role to role. And I just think that Instead of listening to national media and what they think are big issues in education, I agree with you wholeheartedly. Get into a because so often I will listen to some reporting and go, they've obviously not been into a school.

Amy McVey [00:35:52]:

Absolutely.

Liza Holland [00:35:53]:

Excellent discussion. Thank you so much for sharing all your thoughts and, really appreciate you being a guest.

Amy McVey [00:36:00]:

Well, thank you so much for having me. It was great to catch up. It was great to hear about the great things your kids are doing and the great things you're doing. I mean, I can remember, I think, maybe not willingly, you became PTA president. And from there, the rest is history. So thank you for that, and I'm glad I nudged you a little bit into that. I can remember saying, you can do it. I'll help you.

Amy McVey [00:36:27]:

We can do this. You were

Liza Holland [00:36:29]:

I remember that vividly, and thank goodness thank goodness you were the leader that you were because I was very unequipped. It came from would you do a newsletter for us to, hey. Why don't you be president of this Amazing school PTA that has 53 committees and. So Yeah. It it was it was an adventure. So but it started me on a great journey, so thank you.

Amy McVey [00:36:51]:

Well and thank you. It was great to be here today.

Liza Holland [00:36:55]:

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