My Bio, or Some Thoughts on Education, Leadership, and Self
My name is Estee; I was born and spent most of my young life on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea., in Caesarea, Israel. I feel blessed and fortunate to a mother of four wonder-full daughters, Yuli (26), Romi (21), Sufi (19), and Lemoni (16).
I care deeply about the growth and the well-being of all children and have a great passion for nurturing inclusion. I value people and cherish every person as they are – not as I wish they would become. I appreciate my unique gifts and the gifts of others, and I love to collaborate and create new possibilities. I am self-reflective, honest about my short-coming, and seek assistance from others; I am self-assured, confident, equipped with the determination to make a difference, and inspire confidence in others. I am friendly, outgoing, considerate, diplomatic, and sensitive to other’s needs and concerns and enjoy dancing, swimming, hiking, yet most of all, I am a lifelong learner.
I probably represent a mix of strengths and weaknesses; however, with hard work, a sense of humor, and determination to succeed, I can overcome those so-called weaknesses. Also, I don’t believe in entitlements. To achieve, I push myself to perform; to grow, I continue to learn, and to advance, I accept and adapt to change. I continuously examine roadblocks and overcome them with knowledge, spirit, energy, humor, and optimism.
As a learning leader, I believe in giving the freedom of opportunities that enables our gifts to be exercised and encourage to both give and receive such beautiful things as ideas, openness, dignity, joy, healing, and inclusion. I enjoy being a deep listener, and I am naturally interested in helping others. I am both kind and positive in working with others and believe that the key to change is building relationships between people. When individuals receive emotional support, feel cared about, and have someone who listens to their past and current challenges, they can see it as an opportunity for change and commit themselves to others’ well-being.
My educational philosophy is inspired by the theories of John Dewey, Jean Piaget, Lev Vygotsky, Howard Gardner, Ronald S. Barth, Maria Montessori, Loris Malaguzzi, Lynn Stoddard, Rachel Kessler, Marshal Rosenberg, Peter Gray, and other applications of Supportive Social Learning, and Multi-Dimensional Whole Brain/Body Learning. As a teacher, a psychotherapist, and a school administrator, I believe that all people are curious by nature and that the most efficient, long-lasting, and profound learning takes place when pursued by the learner.
I also believe that all people are creative if they are allowed to develop their unique talents. In practice, this means that the school provides a setting where children/students are trusted and treated as responsible young people. The school is a community where children are exploring the complexities of life, and learn to live with differences, tolerance, and the understanding that people have widely divergent points of view.
My lifelong journey in the field of education has reinstated my notion that knowledge should be perceived in the light that the complex idea of what problem-solving entails is a common feature of the learning process.
The art of teaching
I see the educational process to be like a superb weaving, weaving daily moments into long-term investigations. It is a beautiful, intricate weaving with a careful watch; the teacher makes sure that no thread is dropped, that only brilliant colors are selected for use, and that the finished cloth contains all the elements necessary to make it functional and beautiful. This cloth is held together by the very weaving process and is a product that is useful, beautiful, and constructed with care and joy.
Excellent teaching includes an invitation for children, families, and educators for an open dialogue, which leads to the development of a vibrant, diversified, and contextual curriculum. It provides a productive aesthetic classroom environment, in which artistic expression, child-initiated play-based active involvement, and academic excellence, provides the foundation for the learning experience. When I think about an excellent learning environment, I envision a supportive culture of affluence where everyone has the natural desire to give and receive, learn, teach and excel; a place where each child is confident and inspired to reach the stars.
I believe that leadership is an art, and people are the heart and spirit of all that counts. To be a leader is to enjoy the special privileges of complexity, ambiguity, and diversity. To be a school leader especially is havening the opportunity to make a meaningful difference in the lives of those who permitted you to lead. As a visionary leader, I believe that a great school leader continuously discovers new ways of thinking about schooling, and of relating to teachers, parents, children, and the wider community. She leads from the Center and provides the outstanding support a person needs to find, bring out, and develop a unique set of latent gifts, talents, and abilities.
I see myself in the light of being a change agent and a facilitator who is responsible for improving the conditions of all by creating a culture that allows the school to operate as a professional learning community. Also, I see myself as a leader among leaders, thus bringing out the leadership potential of every teacher and employee. Through our collaborative efforts, I ultimately co-construct a knowledge base that continues to evolve and grow. As the Co-op Family Center Executive Director, director, I continually strive to learn, lead, and achieve and promote the learning of all.
Work should be and can be productive, rewarding, meaningful, and maturing, enriching, healing, and joyful. As the Executive Director, I strive to maintain the teamwork that already exists before I joined the Center and continue to carefully examine the specific needs of our learning community, and provide guidance and assistance as needed. I then offer to blend our unique gifts, ideas, and knowledge, to make the total more significant than the sum of our parts.
Also, I believe in collaboration over competition and democratic interaction over strict control. I am adaptable and welcome new ideas and patients with complicated situations. I am also devotedly aware of people’s feelings and relate well to the needs of all. As the Executive Director, I continue and strive to look at the different pathways in which we can continue to nurture that innate greatness that comes as standard equipment with every person born.
Throughout my career, I have witnessed that through building a learning community that offers its members shared decisions, we can create an environment of shared responsibilities. I believe that schools are open systems, for they regularly interact with their environments; thus, the school director’s mission involves combing and coordinating the various resources to attain the school goals – the goal of learning for all!
Also, I place the highest emphasis on each individual’s personal growth and seek to help provide a real learning community for all; a nurturing place where each child and staff member are encouraged to feel the sense of expression and freedom in their essence. As the Executive Director, I continue to strive and shape a culture where love and joy are the sources for connecting, peace is a way of negotiating with one another, and a wealth of good intentions, is looked upon with appreciation.
Developing plans for attaining goals
I believe that sharing our work requires organization, creation, and the articulation of both ideas and emotions. It also requires us to move out of our comfort zones, to receive and reflect on feedback, and to develop new questions and ideas, based on reciprocal collaborations. I believe that relationships are a fundamental component of the work we do and that learning, and relationships are intimately woven together in a place called a school. I also believe that a clear vision is critical to the success and future of the school. By establishing clear, tangible, and challenging goals, followed by developing an action plan for attaining these goals, and regularly using data to maintain the progress, we can make a difference. And at last, as a thriving learning community, we must encourage ourselves to maintain a culture of relationships that embrace open and honest communication among children, adults, families, and colleagues.
As the Executive Director, I will continue to strive and facilitate the needs of our community, weaving theory and practice, and offer professional development opportunities to further our inspiration, ideas, vision, and goals. I will also encourage an ongoing interpretation of the Reggio Emilia theoretical approach to care and education, as well as provide a productive, aesthetic environment in which artistic expression, active involvement, and academic excellence provide a foundation for the learning experience.
Very similar to what is has been established at the Co-op Family Center, I am also a big advocate for building a trusting, open, respectful relationship with the parent’s community. I believe that family involvement makes a significant contribution to the environment and the function of the school. I think that a successful school depends on the continued dedication of parents who volunteer their time, ideas, and recourses, to keep the school thriving and robust. It also provides an opportunity for families to understand their children’s development and how to support the changes they undergo. Also, parent’s involvement enhances the parent-child relationship; it helps families develop a better understanding of the learning process and a positive attitude towards school.
As a Group Psychotherapist for the past twenty-five years, a Special Education teacher for a little less than that, and now a school administrator for the past 15 years, I have witnessed that mental habits are often difficult to change. However, an effective leader has the power to alter wrong thoughts into beautiful truths. By understanding the art of deep listening, the art of giving feedback, and acknowledging that effective communication is a two-way process, the school principal can initiate the value of open communication at her school. Furthermore, by understanding the barriers to communication and knowing how to overcome them, she can help shape a culture of effective communication. As the Executive Director, I will continue to assist our learning community in exploring barriers and solutions to improve our communication effectiveness.
As the Co-op Family Center Executive Director, I strive to foster a love of learning based on values and traditions of the Reggio Emilia core values. I seek to encourage the continuous experimentation and improvement of our practices, so we can all continue to grow and flourish. I strive to build and embrace a culture where all children, and all people, feel respected, honored, and acknowledged as individuals who are actively engaged in their education journey, and where their education is grounded in meaning, relevancy, wonder, joy, community, and love.
With joy and gratitude,