PS: Tell us a little about yourself and your background.
I was born and raised on Long Island in New York and moved to Loudoun County in 1988. My career started out in marketing, advertising, and event planning. I became a stay at home mom in 1998 when my first son was born but it was short-lived. I returned to full time work as a Family and Consumer Science teacher in 2008 and taught at Freedom High School and John Champe High School until I came to Monroe Technology Center as their admissions coordinator in 2014. I am passionate about Career and Technical Education and feel that students need to spend more time in classes learning the things that we teach. At Monroe Technology Center my main responsibility is to travel throughout the county and share information about our programs and manage the admissions process. I have consistently increased the number of applicants over the past three years from 600 to over 900 and doubled the number of students coming through our building for shadowing.
Monroe Technology Center is a part of the Loudoun County Public School system. Can you tell us what makes it unique to other schools in the county?
Monroe Technology Center is unlike any school in Loudoun County. The mission is to expose students to real-world experiences in our 26 programs so that they may get a jumpstart on a future career or decide whether or not a particular career is the right fit for them. The application process is highly competitive, accepting only about 55% of the applicants that apply. We offer hands-on study and prepare students for industry-recognized certifications, and dual enrollment credit. Students thrive at Monroe. You can see it on their faces when they walk in the door that they want to be here because they are pursuing their passion.
Tell us what a day in the life as Director of Admissions is like?
Every day is different. During the fall, most of my days are spent traveling to different schools throughout Loudoun County to talk to parents, attend Back to School Nights, attend college nights, and speaking to students. The spring is dedicated to admissions, the car show and graduation planning. In between all of that, I am the dual enrollment coordinator with Northern Virginia Community College and a member of several internal committees.
You are the mother of three active boys. How do you balance your career and home life?
My boys are 18, 16, and 11. All are involved in multiple sports and are active in their schools. I’ve gotten really comfortable with the fact that I cannot do it all. If my house is a mess and we’ve eaten sandwiches for dinner for three days and no one has clean underwear, so be it. That used to bother me a lot but now, I have made peace with it. At the end of the day, I try to give all my energy to my family and my job and the rest can take a number. I have t
hree happy, sweet, respectful boys whom I am so proud of so I guess my husband and I did something right!
What are some of the challenges you see high school students facing today?
There is a lot of pressure on kids. We have kids in our office every day with anxiety issues, depression, panic attacks, and other mental health challenges. Kids are not allowed to just be kids. We have far too many overachievers in Loudoun who are breeding overachievers and frankly the kids do not have the coping skills to manage their stress. It’s become an epidemic, and frankly, seeing it in the school system has shaped my approach to parenting tremendously. My children being happy is all that I care about. Having the freedom to pursue their dreams without having me constantly breathing down their necks or making everything “right” for them has made a tremendous difference in shaping who they are. We put adult pressure on kids who do not have the maturity to manage it.
What are the latest innovations you are hearing about in your industry?
You are going to start seeing a shift toward more Career and Technical Education programs in Loudoun County Public Schools.
The best thing a parent can do for their child to support their high school experience?
Haha! This is a good one! I once heard a story where during college orientation a mother of an incoming freshman asked a school representative who was going to wake their daughter up for class! I thought to myself, the poor child will not last a semester on her own!
Parents need to teach students how to handle disappointments, and that not everything is going to be just “given” to them. Teach them how to respectfully advocate for themselves with teachers, coaches, and other adults in the community. Although it is difficult, hold back from getting involved in every aspect of their lives and orchestrating everything for them.
Starting in freshman year, slowly start backing away from their academics and reminding them of homework, but make your expectations clear. By the time they are seniors in high school children need to be totally independent. They need to be managing their own calendar, doing their own laundry, meeting deadlines, helping with household chores, holding a job, managing money learning how to cook and clean, etc It’s not a punishment. It’s preparing them for adulthood.