Maumee Teacher Leader Academy Builds Skills And Relationships

Teachers at Fort Miami Elementary School grab their free food during lunch, courtesy of La Fiesta. Lunches, snacks and other goodies are coordinated by the Teacher Leader Academy to bring teachers together with the community and strengthen leadership skills. MIRROR PHOTO BY KRISTI FISH

BY KRISTI FISH | MIRROR REPORTER — Maumee City Schools staff members were recently treated to a free lunch from La Fiesta in a show of support from the restaurant for the Teacher Leader Academy.

For four years, the Teacher Leader Academy has been connecting Maumee City Schools teachers with each other and outside leaders. La Fiesta has been providing a yearly free lunch for them every year, too.

“This is a great way for the staff in our school system to engage with the community,” said district literacy and library specialist Penny Kidd. “This is a form of community outreach.”

Lunches and breakfast, like donuts from Mama C’s, unite the teachers and other school staff members outside of their classrooms.

The Teacher Leader Academy also hosts speakers semi-monthly, usually community leaders including the mayor, chief of police and local organization leaders.

“They can give an inspirational message or encouragement to our teachers,” Kidd said. “We also read articles on leadership and hold discussions.”

All of this is meant to enhance the leadership skills of the teachers both personally and professionally, regardless of each teacher’s career advancement plans.

While some might pursue leadership roles in the school, others take the skills they learn back to their classrooms.

“We want to build our teachers up in any way we can,” Kidd added.

Each school building has a Panther of the Month, which recognizes staff members for the things they are doing throughout the school. As a small award, they receive a 3-D-printed panther that the tech department creates through the high school art department.

It is all a way to motivate and inspire the teachers, Kidd noted.

“I think it makes an impact on the staff members, which ultimately is nice for our kids,” she said. “Our kids benefit from teachers who are happy and excited to come to school every day.”

Kidd, who is a part of the Ohio Teacher Leader Liaison Network, said she knew the teachers could benefit from a group like the Teacher Leader Academy and was happy to bring what she had learned in Columbus to Maumee.

Over four years, she has spent time with other teachers and much of the Maumee City Schools staff to develop connections and build relationships between younger teachers and those with more experience.

As a member of the Maumee City Schools staff, Kidd’s goal is to continue to foster those relationships and create a strong community.

“We want to connect with local businesses and organizations because we are all a part of the same community,” Kidd said. “We all want what is best for it.”

As the Teacher Leader Academy comes to a close this year, Kidd is excited to see how it can expand next year, perhaps with other local schools.

For now, she is just grateful for the support of administrative staff and local businesses such as La Fiesta that are currently supporting the teachers in their mission to develop their leadership skills.

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