Building an Airplane as you Fly

New teacher evaluation systems are being tested and rolled out by every district in the state of Arizona.  Our district is currently piloting a new tool that has been in development for over a year. You might think that using a new tool would be straightforward and easy, what I’ve discovered is that any change within a large organization has many challenges.  The variety of different scenarios and opinions can easily make the smallest tasks seem daunting.

Here are some of the things I have learned about navigating the structure of a large educational organization:

Communication is key, everyone has to know what types of decisions are being made, how they are being made and how their voice will be incorporated into the process.

Everyone wants to be heard, the isolation that is often felt by educators at every level comes to the surface when educators gather together.  Managing the need to be heard versus the needs of the group is a tap dance I am still trying to learn.

Anticipating every possible scenario, being able to anticipate what others might bring to the table and planning for every possible contingency is essential in successfully bringing people together.

Find a core of people to support you, luckily, I am working with a team that is supportive and that is committed to the same goal of creating the highest quality product for our teachers and our profession.

This work is hard and I welcome the challenge.  Everyday holds the promise of learning something new.  I’ve come to understand that I don’t have to have all of the answers for everyone- just the ability to bring us together.


Julie Torres

Julie Torres

Tucson, Arizona

My name is Julie Torres. I wasn’t always sure that I wanted to be a teacher; somewhere along the way I realized that teaching had been knocking at my door for a long time. I became a teacher because it felt natural; I remain a teacher because my students inspire me.

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