This month’s National Renaissance Staffulty of the Month is Lizzie Herring at Mayde Creek High School in Katy, TX. Jostens representative Mike Sosa writes (lightly edited):
“Lizzie has been at two schools as an administrator since I have known her and she has instilled Renaissance values and beliefs in both schools. She works tirelessly at developing those programs with other administrators, teachers and of course students. The results she has created at these schools is remarkable. Lizzie lives and breathes Renaissance and would be a great educator to showcase.”
How long have you been involved with Renaissance?
What’s a favorite Renaissance moment for you?
I have been involved with Renaissance while serving two different campuses which almost makes it more challenging to pick a single moment. Attending the conference in Orlando has to be at the top just because it was such an energizer and really helped establish a network for me of schools and educators to watch, follow, get ideas, and just collaborate with. This helped us get Renaissance going on the campus I was on at the time, and has allowed me to bring many of those same ideas and others to my new campus as we work to impact our campus culture.
How has Renaissance impacted your school’s culture?
The biggest impact I think we have made so far is establishing systems for recognition for staff and students. These last two years in education, as everyone knows, have been HARD to say the least. Focusing on recognition of achievements and sharing genuine appreciation is more important than ever. We have worked hard to maintain a culture of Family on our campus and one of the key components of this has been celebrating each other at every opportunity.
How has Renaissance affected you personally?
Wow…it has just been a complete game changer. It honestly confirmed for me everything I already believed as an educator and gave me a way to put it into action. At my very first JRNC, I just kept thinking “I found my people.”
What advice would you give to someone just starting with Renaissance?
I think when I was first introduced and I was starting to see what “Renaissance” actually meant, I had to realize that it isn’t a “program.” It’s not something packaged that you buy and “roll out.” It’s a philosophy and way of doing things to establish culture on your campus. What works on one campus, may not be what another campus needs. Having done this work on two very different campuses, I have seen this first hand. It complements any other leadership, character, or SEL program that your campus or district may be using. It’s about establishing a network, taking advantage of the like-minded people across the country, and choosing the things that impact the areas you need the most. Also, I would say…start small. Pick a focus area and start there and then add to it as you go. And, look for your helpers – establishing a group or committee to work with is important, but seek those people on your campus that buy in quickly and start with them. As your culture work begins to gain momentum, you’ll have others ask to join in and help and that is where the best buy-in comes from.
Ms. Herring will receive a tote bag and a lapel pin to recognize her achievement.