Women’s History Month–Glen A. Wilson’s Exemplary Women in Education!

Women’s History Month–Glen A. Wilson’s Exemplary Women in Education!

Mrs. Branconier: Activities Director 

Who have been significant female role models throughout your career?

“Throughout my career in education of teaching science, one of my role models has been my in-law who is a professor at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) for the Department of Public Health. She has been an amazing force in the field. She empowers her female students because there are not a lot of females in the doctorate program so when she gets these girls to come in and understand science and grow a passion about it–even when they did not start that way–she is very understanding. She sees it as a way for females to show their strengths. She has been one of the first female chancellors at UCLA for the Department of Public Health, so seeing her breakthroughs has given me a nice basis. 

What do you hope your female students can learn from your example?

I hope my female students can learn–not just in my classroom, but outside too–just different ways of understanding science. Seeing that I do enjoy learning and that it is a good tool to have for the rest of your life, I think I want them to walk away knowing that there is a voice for them to share. It is okay to ask questions and fail, do not be afraid or scared, and if is okay to try a couple of different times and different fields, but I want them to know they can do it and there are always people rooting for them. Find resources, you don’t have to do it alone. 

Dr. Kenfield: Principal 

Did you ever struggle with imposter syndrome as a woman early in your career?

“Yes. Early in my career and post-secondary education, people questioned my abilities, capacity, and choices, which sometimes made me question myself. From my early twenties, I was questioned and at times ridiculed for wanting to be a business owner, to major in mathematics, to minor in computer science, and to become a school administrator. Fortunately, I was raised by parents who have a strong belief in their children, and I am very strong-willed. I became so angry at people who told me “No” or “You can’t do that” that I was relentlessly proving them wrong. I realized, eventually, and I hope others will take this advice – those who put you down or only make excuses for their shortcomings. Don’t EVER let anyone tell you can’t – including yourself.”

What are some of your favorite experiences as Wilson HS principal?

“This could take all day. Believe it or not, I am not ambitious. I will seek promotions or new opportunities when I am bored or want to learn something new. I enjoy becoming part of a community that seeks to achieve the same goals and is driven to achieve those goals collaboratively. I found this here at Wilson. The students, the teachers, the staff, and the parents and families inspire me to deliver my best every day because every one of them deserves my best.”

What made you want to become a principal/join the education field?

“I never saw myself as a public-school educator. When it came time for me to grow up and start earning a living, I realized all my side jobs throughout college involved working with children and teenagers. I really enjoyed high school as a kid, and I loved math and writing. When the time came to make a decision, it seriously was like throwing a dart at a target – it landed on high school and math. I left the classroom because I was asked by my principal to enter administration. I went kicking and screaming, but soon learned to like it. Every administrative leadership position since then, I was asked to apply for except for principal. To be honest, I got tired of doing all the work and not having a voice at the table when decisions were being made. That’s why I applied for the position of principal, and I am beyond thrilled I landed here at Wilson. I have every intention of retiring from this position when the times come. This is home!”

Dr. Ho: Assistant Principal

What was one significant milestone/victory in your career that made you feel excited and confident afterward?

“Earning my doctoral degree in educational leadership during the birth of my second child was one milestone that made me feel excited and confident. There were many late nights and early mornings spent studying and writing.  It was quite a challenging time, but all of the hard work and sacrifices had paid off.  There was a tremendous sense of accomplishment. It was a reminder that with hard work, determination, and much support from loved ones, one can achieve their goals and dreams.”

“What advice would you give to young women who aspire to pursue a career in education?

“Believe in yourself, build your confidence, be passionate, continuously learn, build a strong support system, embrace diversity, be open to constructive feedback, and remember your impact. Teaching can be a challenging and demanding profession, but if you have a genuine passion for education and helping others, it will motivate you to overcome obstacles and keep pushing forward. Never stop learning and seeking out new opportunities for growth, improvement, and development. Surround yourself with mentors, colleagues, and peers who can provide guidance, advice, and encouragement throughout your career. Every student is unique and brings something valuable to the classroom. Be open to constructive feedback from colleagues, supervisors, and even students, and use it as an opportunity to reflect on your practice and make positive changes. Remember your impact as you have the power to inspire, educate, and empower the next generation, and let that drive you to be the best educator you can be.”

How do you balance your professional responsibilities with personal or family commitments?

“Balancing professional responsibilities with personal or family commitments can be challenging.  Prioritize the importance of tasks and deadlines, set boundaries with work and personal life, delegate tasks (which I’m still learning to release), communicate with my village of support, and take care of myself. Balancing professional responsibilities with personal or family commitments can be challenging.  I give much kudos to my family for their support.”

Mrs. Bushyeager: Computer Science Pathway/Cybersecurity/Code Team Director

How do you encourage female students in the classes you teach and organizations you lead to become Women in STEM?

Did you ever feel alienated or alone in college while pursuing a computer science degree? If so, how did you gain confidence in your strengths?

What do you enjoy most about seeing students’ growth in computer science?

Ms. Rouw: International Baacaleureate Director

Can you share a time when you felt particularly empowered or inspired by your role as a woman in education?

“It is difficult for me to think of a specific time because I feel that each day I am given a voice in my role as both a teacher and as IB Program Coordinator. If I were to narrow it down to a specific moment, I would have to say when I was given the chance to present Sheryl Sandburg’s book Lean In at the FBLA Leadership Development Institute.  The room was packed with young women who wanted to learn how to ‘lean in’ and young men that wanted to know how to help the women in their lives ‘lean in’, and the questions they asked at the end were inspiring and filled me with hope. The voice I’ve been given allows me to influence and inspire many students each year, and when I hear back from these young minds when they are in college, or starting their first job, or opening their first business, I am reminded that having a voice as an educator matters.”

Have you ever experienced gender discrimination or stereotypes while present at large IB coordinator events/trainings?

“No, International Baccalaureate events are extraordinarily accepting of everyone, and I always feel respected and comfortable.  The worst gender discrimination I’ve experienced was when I worked in the auto-finance business at a car dealership, and the second worst was the first time I was part of an Academic Senate (this was many, many years ago and is NOT a reflection on current leadership at Wilson).  It was because of these two experiences that I decided I needed to learn how to ‘lean in.’”

What is your favorite thing about being the IB director and IB English teacher? 

“My favorite thing is working with students and being a part of a program that embodies the things I believe in, such as diversity, global-mindedness, and character traits such as those in the IB Learner profile.  I’ve always enjoyed “program building”, and IB gives me the opportunity to make something on our campus better, which in turn makes things better for our students.”

Mrs. Bushyeager: Computer Science Program Director, Cybersecurity and Code Team Advisor

How do you encourage female students in the classes you teach and organizations you lead to become Women in STEM?

I do this in a couple of different ways. First is by leading by example. It hasn’t been an easy journey working through the fields of math and computer science, but it has been an enjoyable one, and I always felt like I discovered my passion. I went through a lot of challenges and had to face a lot of fears, but I always envisioned myself in this position. I like to share my story and encourage others to move one step at a time. Even when you face an academic course or a job position that feels impossible to get through, keep moving forward. Those little victories have pushed me to accomplish a lot in the past 15 years. Second, I feel like the women in my classroom feel a sense of purpose, ownership, and they are given opportunities to lead one-another. Again, it’s about the small victories, and I give them an environment where they can explore and push themselves to the next level.

Did you ever feel alienated or alone in college while pursuing a computer science degree? If so, how did you gain confidence in your strengths?

There were a few computer science courses where I was the only female student, and each one brought a different experience. I had some amazing male classmates who enjoyed working alongside me. There were also cases when I didn’t know anyone in class. In these instances, I decided it was best to work solo. One class in particular we developed algorithms and more efficient program code. Because I decided to work solo, I really had to push myself to finish the task and look at each problem from multiple angles. This actually allowed me to feel a sense of accomplishment with the work I was doing. I still remember that course to this day, and I’m really proud of the work I put into it. 

What do you enjoy most about seeing students’ growth in computer science?

I’ve always loved the freedom that many of my classes bring. Yes, we follow a curriculum, and we prepare for major exams, but there’s a lot of freedom in the projects my students get to create. A huge aspect of my classes is being innovative, collaborative, and contributing to the classroom. It’s important for my students to have a voice, and to feel like they have a place to discover their strengths. All of these elements allow my students to have personal and academic growth. It’s a gift to teach a students for 3-4 years, and to witness the progression of growth year after year.

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