Award-winning administrator wants teachers to succeed
The Excellence in Education Awards ceremony, held on Oct. 3 at the Merced Theatre in Merced, recognized Rosbelina Ward, a fourth grade teacher at Farmdale Elementary, as Teacher of the Year, Lance Brewster, a custodian/bus driver, as Employee of the Year, and Stacy Shasky, the Teacher Induction Program coordinator at Merced County Office of Education(“MCOE”), as Administrator of the Year.
The awards program, hosted by MCOE and Educational Employees Credit Union, is in its fourteenth year and is open to school districts throughout the county. MCOE’s coordinator for the awards program is Stacie Ariencebia.
Shasky spoke to the Times about the Administrator of the Year award and her career.
She explained, “You are nominated, and there’s an application process with questions and you write to the question, and then an outside committee reads the applications and makes the selections.
“It was really nice to be selected, and it was a pleasant evening.
“I’m not exactly sure why I was selected, but I’ve been with the County Office of Education for four years as the primary person in charge of teacher induction, and I also work with grants to help teachers who are working toward their teacher credential. So I think it’s about me trying to help recruit and train excellent teachers.
“I think the other thing I’m really good at is I’m trying hard to work with all the departments in MCOE. I try to work collaboratively with Human Resources, the Grants Department and the Special Ed. program. I really try to work collaboratively with all the people around me.
“I think part of this is that I’m a people person. I love to be around people. I love to work with people. I really think that reaching out to other people makes what we’re doing stronger because they all have expertise in their areas.
“It’s nice to be on a team. I’m glad that I don’t have to do the work I do alone.”
The MCOE Teacher Induction Program (TIP) is a two year Induction Program for teachers holding a preliminary credential.
All holders of State Bill 2042 preliminary credentials must clear their credentials by participating in an Induction Program.
When describing the Teacher Induction Program she coordinates, Shasky said, “In California, when you get a teaching credential, you are awarded your preliminary credential after completing your course work. After you get the preliminary credential, you get a job, and during the first two years of your job, you participate in the teacher induction program.
“We pair an experienced teacher with a new teacher, and they work together. It is a mentorship program. In the course of two years, we do three cycles of inquiry. The teacher identifies something they are interested in improving, and they do research around that and implement it in their classroom. Then they reflect with their mentor about how that worked.
“I offer a lot of professional learning, and the biggest thing I do is a behavior management program called Classroom Organization and Management Program. I teach that four or five times a year. Teachers have opportunities to take the course work if they want. We try to make the program individualized for each teacher. “There is an opportunity for teachers to network and learn with other teachers throughout the county in similar grade levels. This year, we are doing some technology training for them.
“The mentors are experienced teachers their districts have identified as excellent teachers.
“I get to work with all the best teachers and the new teachers, so who has a better job than me? The mentor teachers work alongside the new teachers for a couple of years. Our mentors are the best people. They do a lot more work than they’re actually paid for. They really, truly care about the success of their teachers. They help them with lessons and management, and they also give them a hug when it’s needed.
“I do a lot of coaching training with the mentors as to how to work with a new teacher by helping the new teachers become independent problem solvers on their own. I tell the mentors that the new teacher should feel okay to fail in front of their mentor.
“Mentors do not evaluate the teachers. That is not their job or their role. That is up to the administration. Mentors are there to support the new teachers, coach them and help them grow. That, I think, helps that relationship a lot because they’re that trusted friend who wants them to succeed.
“It’s a really good program because everyone can take advantage of coaching. The new role is hard for a new teacher, and this is a formalized way to help.”
The Teacher Induction Program at MCOE has been around for about 15 years.
Shasky explained, “The State changed the way we do credentialing. We were losing 40 to 50% of our teachers statewide within five years of a teacher starting the profession. I think it was because there was no support. So the State decided that they would create this mentoring program and that’s how teachers would clear their credential, instead of doing more course work.
“Since then, I would say in California the rate of people leaving within the first five years is 20% so it has made a really significant impact on the field, and we’re grateful for it.
“About four or five years ago, the Governor suggested some very significant changes to induction. Before that, it was a curriculum-heavy program more about theory. But the Governor gave a direction to the Commission on Teaching Credential and said the focus has to be on mentoring. People are benefiting from mentoring, not paperwork so much. So now we can really focus on coaching and mentoring.”