Elizabeth Isabelle

Educational Administration and Leadership, M.Ed. Graduating July 2017

Why did you choose to study your program?

After running a dance studio for a decade, I choose to become a school teacher and transfer my previous skills to another field of education. I always knew that I wanted to become an educational leader or a school administrator. This seemed like a natural fit after directing a private company.

Why did you choose UBC?

After completing my Bachelor of Education (Elementary – French immersion) at UBC Vancouver in 2014, it simply seemed natural to enroll in my Masters of Education at British Columbia’s premier university, one year later. I continue to be impress by the expertise of our professors. Our cohort was very well designed and helped full-time teachers to complete an M. Ed with other like-minded professionals from neighboring school districts.

Is there anything you’d like to share?—Something amazing you’ve done? Challenges you’ve overcome? Quirky thing you’d like to share?

Shawn Anderson and I are the first researchers to use the capability approach to look at educational leadership. All the literature focuses on its use in welfare economics, social justice or student performance. We have placed the teachers at the forefront of education and hope that their individual well-being will be enhanced in schools using this new lens by which to look at educational leadership.

What are the most valuable things you have learned?

My advisor, Elaine Decker, has taught me the importance of being wide-awake as per Maxine Greene, to visit the other as per Hannah Arendt, and to reach for our Northfield by Gary Fenstermacher amongst many more important scholars. Our horizon of understanding must continually shift as we learn more and more on our educational journey.

What are your goals for the future–immediate? Long-term?

In my near future, I plan to continue gaining experience as a French immersion elementary and high school teacher. To be a solid educational leader inside and outside my classroom. Long term, I want to be a teacher leader for the North Vancouver School District, apply to become a vice-principal and ultimately, a principal. Along the way, I would love to be a school advisor (SA) and a faculty advisor (FA).

How do you hope to make a difference in our world?

My thesis partner, Shawn Anderson, and I have pressed the need to reconceive educational leadership through the lens of the Capability Approach by Amartya Sen and Martha Nussbaum. We are ultimately suggesting that the Capability Approach be used to guide the way we live our lives, not only as educational leaders, but in our personal interactions as well. Adopting the capability approach should be a way of being, an activity in helping people flourish in their lives and reach a state of well-being. I am hoping that by living my life, by taking time to listen to others, understand their perspective as well as their wants and needs, I can make a conscious decision to help support others to be the best they each can be. Small steps towards helping others be happier as well as for myself living a moral life fulfilled with purpose.

What advice would you give a student considering your field of study?

Take risks. Don’t settle for an easy answer. Push yourself to see other perspectives. Think outside the box. Don’t just accept the status quo. Make meaning for yourself. Be innovative. Lead with imagination, flexibility, and courage.

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