Congratulations Anita Pankake and Dr. Jesus "Chuey" Abrego, Jr.! Read their interview here and check out their new book Lead with Me!
Anita Pankake (L) and Dr. Jesus "Chuey" Abrego, Jr (R)
Anita: "My colleague, Gayle Moller, and I shared an interest in teacher leadership. While numerous works on teacher leadership were available, none addressed the principal’s role in encouraging and supporting the development of teacher leaders. So much research and writing had identified the key role of the principal’s advocacy for bringing about any significant and long-term changes in a school. After many conversations, we decided it was essential to focus attention on the needed actions of the principal if teacher leadership was to become a reality in schools. We wrote a prospectus for our book; it was accepted; and, as the saying goes, the rest is history."
Chuey: "My previous experience as a classroom teacher struggling to make a difference with limited resources. I’m not talking about paper, books, or instructional materials, instead, I mean the struggles a teacher faces when you’re part of a team, and the challenges teachers encounter with collaboration and working in isolation. I’ve always been fascinated by the working conditions of teachers.
Another inspiration is my friend and colleague, Anita Pankake, who invited me to be part of Lead With Me 2nd edition adventure. Together we are committed to sharing best practices with teachers and principals on how to go about creating learning communities that recruit and support teacher leaders."
Anita: "This is a tough question! If I have to choose one, it would be effective delegation. We have a whole section on why delegation is important and some actions that increased one’s effectiveness as a delegator."
Chuey: "The section on building positive relationships is probably my favorite. In terms of strategy and or advice, I’m passionate about the concept of developing a sociogram to represent relationships in a school. Knowing your social network plays such a critical role in the change process and in establishing a network of support and relationships."
Anita: "I have had the privilege and joy of working with so many students over my years in education. My experience has ranged from kindergarteners to doctoral students. I have accumulated funny stories, sad stories, inspiring stories and more. Choosing one seems impossible! However, a favorite recent experience with a former student was writing this second edition of Lead with Me. Jesus (Chuey) Abrego, Jr. was one of my doctoral students at The University of Texas – Pan American (now, The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley). Chuey and I have co-authored other publications, but this was his first book. Over the time we worked on this, I smiled each and every time Chuey told me how much he was learning in the process and how different this writing effort has been from others. Getting this book done took longer than perhaps it should have, but the learning that occurred throughout the process pleased this teacher to no end!"
Chuey: "My students are curious, wonderful, creative and smart (public school and university); that happen to live along the Texas-Mexico border. This is a difficult question for me, since most of my students are Latina/o first generation college students with different and highly stressed family backgrounds. I was the first in my family to attend a university. So I have similar experiences and connections with my students. But one sticks out. Her name is Amanda. She was a shy and imaginative young lady in my 8th grade science class. I recall how important it was to make time to listen and talk to students beyond just academic issues. Building relationships and encouraging them to think about their hopes and aspirations was important. Amanda was always curious and eager to learn. Now she’s blossomed into a dynamic, gregarious and very creative young professional in the entertainment business. Teaching science was interesting but focusing on her as an individual and what she might become was more important.
Lead with Me is about principals working hard to create conditions that encourage and support teacher leaders --- who in turn focus on what’s best for kids."
Anita: "I could make a very long list of the individuals who encouraged and mentored me if I included everyone. However, let me begin with my parents, Bob and Ernestine McCoskey, who encouraged and supported both my learning and schooling from the very beginning. Others, from among the many, who come time mind immediately include; my H.S. Latin teacher, Ms. Johnson; Dean of Girls and Math teacher, Dr. Mary Ann Carroll; Professor of Early Childhood Education, Dr. Jan McCarthy; Professors in my graduate schooling Dr. Max Bailey, Dr. Diane Schiller, and Dean Gerald Gutek. Most importantly, however, is my husband and mentor, Dr. David W. Pankake."
Chuey: "My parents were my first teachers and they inspired me to learn and challenge myself. My Dad was a carpenter and machinist, we’d work on math problems on the front porch after dinner using an old chalk-board. They stressed the value of an education. Mom and Dad were ‘growth mindset’ parents before the phrase became popular in education!"