After a 34-year profession in education and learning, Ascension General public Educational institutions Director of Secondary Universities Mia Edwards is retiring on June 30.
“There is so much I could say about the abilities, competencies, and qualified accomplishments of Mia Edwards,” said Superintendent David Alexander. “She has led many thriving initiatives at each individual juncture of her profession. I admire her genuine enthusiasm and braveness to embrace the mission, calling, and objective of our function in education and learning.
“She properly supported ongoing helpful techniques, designed change in which it was wanted, and could keep the system even in complicated times though primary other individuals to stay the training course, as perfectly,” he mentioned. “She is a wonderful illustration of leadership in so a lot of approaches. But most of all, she is just a very good individual that truly cares about some others. She will be skipped but also warmly remembered for all that she has completed to make Ascension Public Schools a great place for young ones and a fantastic area to get the job done.”
Finding a calling
Born and elevated as Mia Griffin in Donaldsonville, the Griffin family has a lengthy historical past of service and leadership in the Donaldsonville neighborhood. Her grandfather was a previous mayor and state representative and her father served as a police juror. She graduated from Ascension Catholic College, where she attended from to start with to 12th grades and was inducted into the school’s Corridor of Distinction.
Whilst a fantastic scholar who graduated with a 3.9 GPA, Edwards never regarded as herself as university material. In actuality, she attended Nicholls Condition College with the intention of obtaining an associate diploma so she could turn out to be a secretary. Once on the Thibodaux campus, an adviser advised she key in enterprise education and learning so she would have much more selections just after college. That final decision transformed her profession trajectory.
Following obtaining an undergraduate instructing diploma, Edwards taught for 1 yr at Donaldsonville Substantial School right before having a nine-thirty day period educating situation at Baton Rouge Local community College or university. She married her superior college sweetheart, Sammy Edwards and they moved to their hometown, Donaldsonville
This coincided with her return to Ascension Parish to operate the Occupation Training Partnership Act plan at Lowery Center College, which concentrated on remediating kids having difficulties in math and looking through and furnishing them business and job placement skills. It was during her time instructing in Donaldsonville that she discovered her calling for schooling.
“It is the cliché that it is all about the young children,” mentioned Edwards. “I inherited the DECA sponsorship at Donaldsonville Superior School and having the youngsters position in a competitors crammed me with so substantially delight and possession. I sponsored Junior BETA and cheerleading at Lowery and discovered that I just experienced a knack for performing with and acquiring young ones.”
Under the leadership of then Lowery Center Principal Jessie Sanders, Edwards worked on a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from Nicholls and recertification for math and science.
Transferring to St. Amant
In 1993, Edwards and her husband built a home in St. Amant and she transferred to Galvez Center School to instruct sixth grade math and science.
She took a go away from her teaching posture in 1998 to turn out to be the coordinator of the Louisiana Systemic Initiative Application grant, a partnership between LSU, Ascension and Iberville parishes, to further more science schooling. Immediately after two decades, she returned to Galvez Center College and in 2002, Edwards turned a single of the initially teacher coaches in Ascension Parish. In that capacity, she supported Dutchtown Center and Prairieville Middle universities.
“Serving as a instructor coach was appealing and comparable to my expertise on the LaSIP grant. It stretched me since I experienced to support academics in all material spots, not just math or science. Even so, I acquired that fantastic instructing is very good teaching, no matter the content material,” said Edwards.
Believing in general public instruction
Edwards’ diverse working experience training in various community educational facilities prompted her to make the difficult determination of transferring her two sons, Sammy in fourth quality and Griffin in kindergarten, from the catholic faculty program to community schools.
“I usually taught in general public colleges and knew we have been providing a fantastic schooling for learners. Becoming a lot more associated in the teacher coach thought permitted me to see academics performing to do what is most effective for kids, furnishing great academic feedback so learners could mature. It was not just anything that I believed in, it was what I assumed was very best for my very own kids,” stated Edwards.
She transferred to train eighth grade at Lake Elementary for a yr whilst her small children manufactured the transition to community school, then she returned to a instructor mentor position supporting St. Amant Center.
In 2007, Edwards became the employees advancement coordinator for trainer coaches and was in charge of applying benchmark exams. Afterwards that 12 months, she was employed as an assistant principal at St. Amant Higher University.
“I felt higher university would be enjoyable due to the fact of the extensive-term vocation impacts it could have on a student’s life. I required to be a portion of that,” explained Edwards. Nevertheless, obtaining invested most of her profession in middle schools, she admits there was a understanding curve.
“Higher university is outside of classroom curriculum. There are unique credits to graduate, TOPS curriculum alignment, block schedules, and the wide number of little ones and lecturers. A person of the most difficult transitions was operating with young ones and moms and dads on self-discipline challenges,” stated Edwards. “Schooling at college is important to parents, but the way their young children are treated at faculty is even extra important.”
She became principal of St. Amant High College in 2011.
“My decisions have to be what is best for young ones since that is why we are right here. I often request myself ‘Is this greatest for youngsters?.’ If the respond to is yes, then I feel confident and justified in my choices,” she reported.
Edwards believes the neighborhood put their belief in her not only for the reason that of her consistent target on students but also simply because her very own small children attended the significant college. Her oldest son, Sammy, was in tenth grade when she turned assistant principal, and her youngest, Griffin, graduated in 2017. “My children have been in the exact courses in the college. It added to my travel since I be expecting the greatest for all.”
The 2016 flood devastated St. Amant, and Edwards was impacted the two personally and skillfully. She led the greatest afflicted school though working with her individual flooded residence.
“The flood was by far the hardest celebration I have dealt with mainly because the impression it had on so lots of people today. It was just unbelievable that it happened to this group,” claimed Edwards. “We experienced to reassure anyone that we ended up going to be Ok, and we worked tirelessly to make that legitimate.”
St. Amant High’s 2,000 students and workers invested six months on Dutchtown Substantial School’s campus keeping courses from 12:30 p.m. right up until 5:10 p.m. This meant extracurricular things to do like athletics experienced to get position in the mornings. Edwards and her staff members experienced to set in further energy to secure logistics for ordinary actions like homecoming and keeping pep rallies in the rival team’s gymnasium.
“We could have stated we have been not likely to do functions outside of the classroom because we were being flooded, but we were not going to do that this 12 months. This adversity stirred a aggressive generate in absolutely everyone who as an alternative reported this is not likely to defeat us,” she claimed.
While the Dutchtown Large instructors and workers ended up welcoming and accommodating, St. Amant High academics experienced to carry their products to school every working day and were fundamentally training out of backpacks. Due to the fact of the 50 %-working day shared agenda, each faculties lost 45 minutes of instruction time each and every working day.
According to Edwards, the 50 %-day timetable was also a blessing for the flood-ravaged community mainly because it authorized time in the mornings for households to operate on repairing their residences and for students to be with their parents. The flood also taught learners that fantastic can occur from terrible factors.
Leading Ascension’s Higher Universities
Significantly less than a person calendar year immediately after the flood, Edwards was named a semifinalist for Louisiana Principal of the Year and stepped into a new management purpose: director of secondary faculties. In this new position, she oversaw the district’s four large colleges, APPLe Digital Academy, the Early College or university Option application and job and complex training.
Seeking again at the previous 5 several years, Edwards is in particular proud of the adhering to accomplishments:
- Increased Collaboration: “Our higher universities are collaborating. They share and master from each other so there is much more regularity across operations.”
- Vocation and Technical Education and learning: “I am thrilled about the growth in this spot. We are featuring new packages this sort of as drones, HVAC, Intro to Engineering, and have included a profession heart on APPLe’s campus.”
- WorkReady Neighborhood: “This was a excellent energy to bridge the gap between high schools and companies to superior have an understanding of how we can support little ones soon after graduation.”
- Graduation Rate: “Our graduation price is the highest in our district’s background. I consider this is mainly because we revisited freshman academies, launched summer months bridge plans, and have a greater grasp of how to observe pupils.”
- Portrait of a Graduate: “Although in its infancy, our Portrait of a Graduate is developing a url in between K-8 and large university. It highlights the 21st Century capabilities our college students have to have when they graduate and how that foundation can commence in primary college and is nurtured in middle college.”
- Social-Psychological Discovering: “We have worked challenging to prioritize social-psychological discovering on our superior school campuses to help handle mental well being. By doing the job with academics and golf equipment, we are striving to provide assistance to our students.”
There were being a few people who experienced profound impacts on Edwards: Patrice Pujol, Steve Westbrook and David Alexander. Each guided her throughout pivotal times in her profession.
Pujol impressed Edwards to turn out to be a teacher coach. “By way of her management and assistance, she confirmed me how I can affect the do the job of other folks. Her passion and generate ended up admirable, and I failed to come to feel like I could rest for the reason that she could not rest,” explained Edwards.
When Westbrook was principal of St. Amant Substantial School, he employed Edwards to be an assistant principal.
“He took a opportunity on me,” explained Edwards. “He ran a incredibly effective college that allowed students and teachers to mature and preserve tutorial concentrate. He was the to start with to open my eyes to how directors harmony so many plates and how to greatest utilize your people to realize your plans.”
When Edwards was principal of St. Amant Superior Faculty, Alexander was director of secondary faculties.
“As my director, he was my personalized aid program. His practical experience running Dutchtown High and sharing the superior and struggles produced me really feel great about what I was executing,” claimed Edwards.