Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Meet Linda Hutcherson

Linda Hutcherson is principal of Foothill Middle School in Walnut Creek. We asked her to tell us about herself and her job.

Please describe your job and responsibilities:
I believe as the principal my primary responsibility is to be an instructional leader providing support and resources to insure the highest level of academic achievement for every child. I strive every day to bring passion, enthusiasm, excellence and commitment to my work. My students, teachers, staff, and parents deserve no less of me. I am always encouraging us as a school community to stretch our professional boundaries. We are facing tremendous fiscal challenges in California education. To grasp the scope and gravity of the situation is almost incomprehensible to us. As the principal, it is paramount that I serve as the consummate optimist. I work with an incredible team of dedicated and talented individuals committed to serving all students. I am honored to be their principal.

What inspired you to work in this profession?
I have often shared with family, colleagues and friends that I was placed on the universe to be an educator, just like Stevie Wonder was born to sing. I have been a high school English teacher, high school counselor, middle school dean of counseling, middle school vice principal, elementary school principal, community college instructor, teacher preparation instructor and middle school principal. I love every aspect of being an educator. My parents were born in the South during a period when many African-Americans were not able to have the opportunity to go to college. I am the first generation in my family to go to college and to obtain two Master degrees. My father was a school custodian and my mother cleaned homes when I was growing up. My parents were intelligent and tenacious. They were always working to make sure their children had a good life. In our home, education was revered. The immeasurable pride that I saw in my parents eyes when I became a teacher and later a principal has been my greatest gift, comparable only, to the look in the eyes of my students when they reach their goals.

What is your professional goal?
My professional goal is to always be better tomorrow than I was today. I am a lifelong learner. I want to always make a positive difference in the lives of every one I encounter. I want to be an inspiration to others. When I was a teacher, I did not want to leave the classroom. When I became an administrator, I believe my sphere of influence enlarged and broadened. I often think of returning to school to get my doctorate. I am open and receptive to the infinite possibilities awaiting me. First and foremost, I want to stay in ‘the moment’ and to be of service to my students, staff, parents, community, colleagues and Mt. Diablo Unified School district.

What do you like best about your job?
I love working with students. I love watching them grow, learn, evolve and transform. I am committed to the success of all students, but students who face unique and special challenges hold a special place in my heart. I am a relentless advocate for special education and at risk students. They need me to be a warrior for them. I work with the most amazing special education staff. Their incredible commitment, expertise, and dedication are exemplary. In 2009, we were honored to receive the California Distinguished School award. As a component of our application process, we had to select two signature practices that we were most proud of that demonstrated instructional excellence. Our first signature practice was our support for student learning as manifested in our “Response to Intervention” process. Our Learning Center is the ‘hub’ and anchor of support for all students. Our entire Coordinated Care team – Student Services administrator, Sherry Brauer; our school psychologist, Kickan Wilson; our special education providers and teachers, Charlie Litten, Cheryl Brown and Barbara Diskowski; our speech therapist, Marie Wyman; our school nurse, Kathy Gabe; our 504 administrator, Mike Mattos—work collaboratively to insure the success of every child. Teachers provide support within the classroom. Our school fundamental principle is to work collaboratively to support all learners. Our special education program provides intensive, focused and caring support for all students.

If you could change anything about your job/services you provide, what would it be?
I want to do more, to be better, to expand, to grow, to never rest on my laurels. I am driven, but I have learned to honor the process and to try to keep my feet on the ground. I do not want to let my students, staff, colleagues or families down. I work every day to listen, to support, to encourage and yes, to love, all who I encounter. I would not change anything. I would just choose to keep learning in order to grow and to become better than I was yesterday. Sometimes I just marvel at the work I have the opportunity to do each day!

You can contact Linda Hutcherson at Foothill Middle School: 925-939-8600 or lhutchersonl@mdusd.k12.ca.us
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