From fighting wildland fires with the U.S. Forest Service to putting out fires in the classroom, education was the last place that Rachael George thought she’d end up. It wasn’t until a hard conversation with a base manager in Grangeville, Idaho did Rachael realize she needed to put her chainsaw down and make a bigger impact on the world. Rachael is a member of the ASCD Emerging Leaders Class of 2015 and currently serves as the principal of Sandy Grade School in the Oregon Trail School District. Over the past six years, Sandy Grade School has moved from being one of the lowest-ranked elementary schools in the state of Oregon to performing in the top 20% of elementary schools. Sandy Grade School has been recognized by the International Center for Leadership in Education (ICLE) as a Model School for closing the achievement gap. Prior to serving as an elementary principal, she was a middle school principal of an “outstanding” and two-time “Level 5: Model School” as recognized by the State of Oregon. Rachael specializes in curriculum development, instructional improvement as well as working with at-risk students and closing the achievement gap.
When someone asks Kate Barker how many children she has she replies, “Five hundred, plus two”. As well as having two children of her own, Kate is currently the principal of Cherry Park Elementary in Portland, Oregon. She has been an educator for the past 29 years, all in the David Douglas School District which is located in an urban setting. Kate has spent her career dedicated to supporting and learning from her community. She has been a fourth and fifth-grade teacher and a district office leader in charge of Title I, Early Childhood, and K-12 Language Arts. In the past seventeen years, she has lovingly served as a principal at three different buildings. In her current building, she works with a diverse and vibrant community of preschool-fifth grade students. Seventy-five percent of the families live below the poverty line and 28 different languages are spoken. Many of her students are steeped in trauma whose basic needs are not met. And yet, Cherry Park Elementary students consistently outperform state averages. She holds a master’s in Special Education and is a champion for building a culture for including all students and families. She believes that everything starts with a genuine relationship and connections and high expectations are at the core of her community’s success.
Social justice has always been central to Kourtney Ferrura’s passion for education as she began as a teacher’s assistant at San Quentin State Prison in 1997. This experience evoked a lifelong dedication to strong educational experiences for all students, especially those who experience the obstacles of inequity. “The relentless belief in every child’s unlimited capacity to learn” are words that guide the work she does in McMinnville School District where she served as principal at Wascher Elementary School for six years and now serves as Director of Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment at the district office. Wascher Elementary was recognized as a Model School for rapidly improving student outcomes in 2018 by the International Center for Leadership in Education (ICLE). In 2019 Kourtney was awarded Oregon Elementary Principal of the Year and was honored as a National Distinguished Principal. Before entering into administration, Kourtney was a kindergarten and third grade teacher as well as an instructional coach. She lives in Oregon’s wine country with her husband and two children.
In this episode, we discuss:
- How these ladies path’s found one another and their collaborative project to serve other leaders navigate the school leadership learning curve
- Each of these incredible leaders shares about her own path into school leadership as well as a piece of their own learning curve,
- And we get to know more about their passion to serve their learning communities.
Am I glad you joined us today, friends. These ladies are full of joy, inspiration, and guidance for us all. I can’t wait to share them with you in this episode, and I encourage you to grab a copy of their book PrincipalED: Navigating the Leadership Learning Curve so they can come alongside you on your own path. It is with deep joy that I share with you Rachael George, Kate Barker, and Kourtney Ferurra of the PrincipalED Crew’s Pathfinder Story.
Connect with the PrincipalED Crew:
Dr. Rachael George on Twitter
Kate Barker on Twitter
- Sarah’s Website
- Sarah on Twitter
- Sarah on IG
- Sarah on LinkdIN
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sarahsajohnson
- In AWE Podcast: www.inawetorise.com
- Subscribe: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/in-awe-podcast/id1446046418
- Join Sarah’s FREE Five Day Going Beyond Balance Challenge:
Need a high-energy, authentic presenter for your organization?
Contact Sarah Johnson for presentations on Going Beyond Balance, Leadership Foundations, Affirming Purpose, and many more.
Review the Podcast
The ranking of this show is 100% tied to subscriptions and reviews. You can help amplify more women and reach more who need their messages by subscribing to the show and leaving an honest rating and review on your favorite podcast platform.