Catching up with Terrell Bell Leadership Award Recipient Edna P. Coia
Each month, RIASP profiles a principal making a difference in his or her community. This month, we connect with Dr. Edna P. Coia, principal of Pawtucket's Elizabeth Baldwin School, who recently traveled to Washington D.C. to receive the Terrell Bell Leadership Award. She is one of just seven school leaders nationwide to be recognized for her school's work.
Q: How long have you worked in education, and how long have you been a principal?
I have worked as a classroom teacher from 1981 to 1988 and worked as school administrator from 1988 to present.
Q: What's your definition of excellence in school leadership?
Excellence in school leadership is recognizing the talents of all the people around you, using the talents to their fullest and sharing the responsibility with all stakeholders. This way, they have the investment in the outcome, thus they also feel respected and valued.
Q: What is the best advice you ever received in regards to school leadership?
School leadership should be shared. No one can succeed without the people around the leader sharing their expertise, for a leader is not the expert -- the experts are the members of the organization doing their parts and what is expected of them.
Q: Who do you consider your mentor or mentors? Describe the impact they had on you?
My long experience as an educator enables me to see the good and the bad leaders. My very best mentors are the bad leaders for I only do the opposite of what they are doing.
Q: What are the characteristics you look for when hiring a new teacher?
I always include a question about Common Sense when I do interviews for teacher applicants. I am also looking for a teacher who is willing to walk another mile when it comes to service. Attitude towards work is very important.
Q: What book would you recommend all principals read?
Mindset by Carol Dweck
*Do you know of a colleague who should be profiled in Five Quick Questions? Email nominations to firstname.lastname@example.org