Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Get to Know Your District: Meet Melinda Hall

Melinda Hall is Director of Curriculum and Instruction for Mt. Diablo Unified. Caroline Stimson asked her about herself.

Please describe your job and responsibilities:
I have the responsibility of supervising and supporting seven administrators who assure that every student in the Mt. Diablo Unified School district has access to the very best curricular materials and is exposed to the best instructional practices to make the curriculum both rigorous and relevant. I am also ultimately responsible for the district’s adherence to the requirements of many federal and state funded programs that serve our special populations. Our department oversees the writing and implementation of all courses of study for secondary schools and we are currently reviewing those courses of study and making them consistent across the system. I also supervise three special education full inclusion specialists and one reading specialist who keep me very closely connected to the classroom and to our students. It is an exciting job that is never boring and requires continuous learning for me.

What inspired you to work in this profession?
During the years my children were growing up and we were moving around the United States, I began substitute teaching. It seemed that the positions that were rarely picked up were positions in special education classrooms. I chose one or two of these classroom opportunities and I was hooked. I immediately felt a need to teach, advocate for and support these incredible students.

What is your professional goal?
From the moment I was assigned to teach in my own classroom as a resource specialist in the portable classroom farthest from the main school buildings, I set my goal that I and the students I was responsible for deserved and would have access to everything the students in the regular education classrooms had. We have made progress but we still have a long way to go to experience an educational environment where every student is seen as a unique individual who deserves and commands the respect and high expectations from every adult who works with them.

What do you like best about your job?
I love the people I work with. The work is challenging as there are such limited resources for public education. However, I come to work everyday very grateful for the committed staff in my department and at our school sites. The students and the expectations they have of us as adults are always with me and they drive my continuing optimism that we will be able to do better.

If you could change anything about the services you provide, what would it be?
I would take down the walls between special education and the rest of the district both figuratively and literally. If we at the district office do not model what we expect of others to do then we are not effective leaders. Both the human and fiscal resources would better serve our students and staff if this change took place.
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