Episode #194: Dr. Sheka Houston & Tammy Taylor

Dana GoodierOut of the Trenches Podcast

Dr. Sheka Houston and Principal Tammy Taylor are best-selling contributing authors of Women Who Lead in Education Featuring School Principals, Volume 3, 2nd edition.  They are also co-founders of Create and Educate, LLC an education and literary firm that offers resources to schools to include, professional development and a catalog of culturally relevant book titles forschool-age children from independent authors.  The school leaders have 40 years of experience in education between the two of them with experience in charter school start-ups, as well as, instituting AVID and Leader in Me as school initiatives.  In addition, the duo, were the recipients of the South Carolina Palmetto Silver Award for academic growth, moved two and three report card levels in one year, won the Palmetto State Arts Education Steam School of Excellence Award, and Teacher of the year.  After experiencing tremendous academic growth, NWEA conducted a case study that is featured on their website.  Most recently Dr. Houston and Principal Taylor have a new book they are promoting, It Doesn’t have to be Lonely at the Top: The Power of Collaboration in Leadership that outlines their story of resiliency in their leadership journey.  Their weekly Facebook Live Series, The R.E.A.L.L Academy outlines training from their framework.  They also host The Collaborative, the first Tuesday of each month bringing educators, parents, community members and authors together to solve problems in education.

Trench story: basically, what the new book is about, turnaround principals went into together as 1st year, worked a lot with school improvement. Schools of promise. 2nd year were in school improvement status. Got support from outside the district. They were under fire for having lots of turnover. Were told they’d be back in the CR. One of the reasons they founded the company. Helps educators & parents’ areas where there is poverty, marginalized students. Then they created a company. Time to reflect on who they are as Black women in leadership. Dynamic of changing accountability model. Added stress. Motivation wasn’t so much avoiding having to return to CR. There wasn’t the layer of support except thru one another.

Tell me about why you founded Create and Educate, LLC and what you do: was founded by Sheka Houston and Tammy Taylor- they have an added bonus of having backgrounds and experiences in business, banking and real estate. They talked about it on their podcast the morning of recording 7/23/22- Sheka talked about her real estate background. Curb appeal. The way you look at the budget, it’s very much infused in their leadership style. Tammy was a corporate banker. You need to focus on relationships with clients. There’s a layer of respect that’s a given. Child’s success in school brings them to the bottom line. Create climate & culture in school where employees can thrive. Return on investment- how is the academic needle moving? How are implementations giving us returns?

The Collaborative is our online platform that brings educators, parents, and community members together each week to navigate the pivots of Pandemic Education. Each segment is followed by story time, 1st Tues of each month Tuesdays at 7:00 pm EST. Tune in on any of their social media platforms.  Follow them all.  Click the links at the bottom of the page.  Be our guest by filling out the contact form on our homepage. Real framework on Saturdays, space for parents & educators. What they have planned in late Sept-early Oct: They notice at the beginning of the pandemic people were going to social media, running each other down. Wanted to bring ppl together. Premise behind The Collaborative. Great series with Back to School special with guests, leaders, teams, parents. Audience finds it beneficial- they didn’t want to be part of the problem but part of the solution. What’s the answer to this situation a parent is facing? Also had community partner support. Click all social media handles, can be viewed on YouTube, FB.

Sheka has been a MS level, now at the district. Tammy was at district now at MS. Has worked in edtech as well. Sheka was a teacher for 5 years, principal 5 years, now 2nd year as director of interventions for Chester County S.D. Used growth model at MS, superintendent wanted it used in district. Tammy, went from district to 7 years ago, was preparing to go back to the bank. Unbeknownst to her, she landed at Great Falls E.S. as principal. District-level related to banking background. Different dynamic at E.S. Greatest/rewarding job. Is “on assignment”. This fall will be her 8th yr, taking school to next level. School was in improvement, now CSI school. Needs to change academic trajectory. Needs to start at E.S. preparing kids for college, military, trade. Complete pleasure kicking off new yr. Leadership summit last week of July.

Books Women who lead in Education we could talk about challenges women face as leaders. Told leadership stories, moved the academic needle at school. There were many phenomenal ladies in leadership who collaborated. Talks about microaggressions they’ve experienced in leadership. Some people don’t feel comfortable to.

Next book: It doesn’t have to be lonely at the top. Was going to be released in the spring, released why, but are wrapping it up now. Speaks to leaders who are facing state-sanctioned school improvement. No road map for that.  Try to give leaders a roadmap to come out of school improvement. Wants to help leaders who are thrown into a turnaround principal situation. Dissertation work, 7 core. They provide a framework that explains how they moved schools 2-3 report card levels. Stories will wrench your heart but also uplift/encourage. Release end of Sept.

If you purchase it from the website, you can get the info from the leadership conference as well. Schools can sign on for coaching.

Key quotes: Sheka– it was personal for people to understand that being form Chester, NC, the label, zip code doesn’t define you. Opportunities are limitless. See people through possibilities. Click To Tweet

Tammy-as leaders know you can rise above the situation if you’re committed to being resilient. There’s nothing so hard you can’t get thru it. Lead w/ resiliency, staff follows. Seeps down into the classroom. A test can’t define us. We lead people, not tests. Resiliency get off recording

Find Sheka & Tammy online at Educators/Entrepreneurs | Create and Educate, LLC. can connect on FB, You tube @shekahoustin, LinkedIn; email them as well. Tammy will do a better job of being on LinkedIn & Twitter, when finishes her dissertation.

View this episode on YouTube: https://youtu.be/5IhXhh7qJ44



Load More