Alumna Talks Education Leadership, Advocacy
Amy Schott’s life has changed considerably since graduating from TCU’s Early Childhood Education program in 2000. She’s amidst her eighth school year as principal of Rockledge Elementary School in Woodbridge, Virginia and has her sights set on hiring highly qualified teachers, including some from her undergraduate alma mater.
“It has always been a dream of mine to be able to hire TCU graduates,” Amy said. “I remember the professors being very passionate about researching best practices and exposing us to research authentically. My best experiences were working in high poverty schools.”
Her experience isn’t singular, the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE) recognized the Early Childhood Education program with the 2015 Best Practice Award in Support of Multicultural Education and Diversity.
Schott said she wants to hire teachers with experience in serving economically and linguistically diverse populations and cross-curricular instruction skills. She advises those interviewing for teaching positions to provide specific examples about best practices they’ve learned and how they plan to apply them in their day-to-day teaching experiences. She looks for teachers passionate about authentic instruction, who can make material relevant and engaging for students.
Schott has made a successful career of passionate teaching, leadership and advocacy. After graduating from TCU, Schott taught elementary general education, English Speakers of Other Languages and adult education. She enjoyed teaching, but wanted to have a larger impact. She went back to school to earn a Master’s in Education Leadership with an Administration and Supervision Licensure from George Mason University, then served as an Assistant Principal at West Gate Elementary before beginning her role as principal of Rockledge in 2008.
Prince William County Schools nominated her for the Washington Post Distinguished Educational Leadership Award and Principal of the Year in 2014 for her hands-on support of students, teachers, school programs and the community. Her school has received the School of Excellence designation seven out of the eight years of her principalship.
Schott is passionate about advocating for education policy and holding her representatives accountable. Legislators in her district, located about 30 miles outside Washington D.C., know her name. She follows policies proposed in the Virginia legislature and encourages educators and parents to get involved.
“Education policy is not always in the best interest of students, set by people who aren’t education experts,” she said. “Educators and parents with children in schools need to be advocates.”
Schott is proud of the College of Education for support of TCU’s LiiNK project, modeling Finnish school system practices and researching impacts of increased recess time on learning capacity. She views Finland as a leader in education because they value and respect teachers, an environment in which teachers thrive.
“Being a public school educator is equally as challenging as it is rewarding,” she said. “I’m proud of advocating for teachers and celebrating what they do.”