Administrator At A Special Needs Collaborative
Job Title: Special Education Administrator
Type of Company: I work for a special needs collaborative located in southeastern Massachusetts.
Education: BS, Education, Bridgewater State College (Bridgewater, MA) M.Ed., Special Education Administration, Simmons College (Boston, MA)
Previous Experience: I taught children with special needs for six years but I have worked in educational administration for the past 27 years.
Job Tasks: I work for a special needs collaborative which provides educational programs for children ages 3 to 22 with significant disabilities. The children come to our programs from school districts in the area. I work in the office as a special education administrator, coordinating statewide testing for our students, making sure our teachers, teacher aides and related service providers (such as speech therapists) are appropriately licensed, and planning and conducting teacher training workshops. I assist teachers in developing their Individual Education Plans for students. I work with the state's Department of Education to ensure that our programs comply with the laws and regulations. I develop and design all our policies and procedures based on federal and state laws and regulations. These laws and regulations change often, so it is my job to make sure I know about all the changes, what they mean, and how they might affect our programs and students. I do a lot of writing, which I enjoy.
I work with a lot of people who really care about children with special needs, which is very rewarding. I try to assist our teachers in any way I can so they have more time to do what they do best: teach the students!
Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of my job is working with the teachers to try to find new and exciting ways to teach and motivate the students. When we work together and share ideas, we often come up with terrific projects to try. It is very rewarding to work with others who have the same goals and interests. The worst part for me is when I learn about a student who has quit school or who is not meeting with success at school. I know that we only have a student for 6 hours a day and we can't fix everything, but it is sad to see any child fail.
1. Always remember that every child has value. You might have to look hard for it in some children, but trust me, it's there!
2. Learn all you can in college, but never stop learning. Some of the best lessons are learned when you least expect it.
3. Always be kind.
Additional Thoughts: In this career, you will work with lots of people - other administrators, educators, parents, students. The most important thing is, don't judge other people. Listen to them and try to understand where they're coming from. Validate their feelings and try to put yourself in their shoes. Sometimes you have to make hard decisions, but most of the time there is room for a little compromise.