Theresa earned her Bachelor of Music Education from Wayne State University in Detroit, MI in 2003 and a Master in Educational Administration (Assessment and Evaluation) at University of Michigan-Dearborn in 2007. She taught for 8 years as a public school music educator teaching general music and band starting in 2003 as well as co-directing the high school vocal music program. She also worked for 2 years as an Implementation Director at an Human Resources company until 2013. Ms. Stager has been an accompanist at St. Blase Catholic Church in Sterling Heights, MI since September 1998. She accompanied a 180-member choir at Carnegie Hall in New York City with guest artist Liam Lawton as well as performing with a host of artists at the National Association of Pastoral Musicians (NPM) in Detroit, 2010. Her biggest musical accomplishment was being asked to perform for Pope Benedict XVI in Rome during November, 2012 concert tour throughout Italy, and playing the organ at St. Peter’s Cathedral during a mass. Mrs. Stager has worked as a guest accompanist for GIA Publications and can be heard on Stephen Petrunak’s Dove Award-Nominated Album “Love Beyond All Measure”
Theresa has presented at many music, administration and technology conferences in her career. Her music education blog was nominated and chosen as one of the Top 75 eCollegeFinder Music and Arts Enthusiasts Award Winners. Theresa was featured in Dr. Spike Cook’s first book “Connected Leadership: It’s Just a Click Away.” Theresa, along with Dr. Spike Cook and Jessica Johnson have cowritten their first book “Breaking Out of Isolation: Becoming a Connected School Leader” published by Corwin Press.
Follow @PrincipalStager and mention this episode (educatorslead.com/theresastager) on Twitter for your chance to receive a free copy of her latest book “Breaking Out of Isolation: Becoming a Connected School Leader“!
Theresa shares a little about her family, background, and pastimes, and the fact that she has played the piano at St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, and also was part of a group that sang for Pope Benedict in 2012 (2:25)
Theresa always knew she wanted to teach, and she discusses her career path (4:40)
When and why she made the move from teaching into admin (6:58)
The biggest hurdle Theresa encountered on her path to becoming an administrator – the catch 22 of struggling to get her first admin job without having admin experience (6:55)
The absolute best way to start networking if you’ve never done it before, and why it’s an absolute necessity for educators (15:10)
The importance of collaborating with many other people; and don’t worry about your ideas being stolen – just get out there and start sharing, because everyone benefits (25:40)
A potential pitfall of networking on social media – don’t let the triumphs and positive stories you’ll be reading about give you a false impression, because every teacher and every admin faces real struggles (28:00)
How Theresa’s struggles in her career have made her a better administrator (and a favorite commercial that helps when she’s having a bad day) (38:27)
How her background outside of education helped shape Theresa’s career (44:30)
How Theresa’s impact as an administrator is different than the one she had as a teacher, why making the change was worth it, and an important word of advice for those considering making the same career change (49:00)
Some of the best moments in Theresa’s career revolve around the connections she has made with students (53:24)
The advice Theresa received before starting her first admin job that turned out to be the best career advice she has ever received (55:56)
Some of Theresa’s favorite education books (57:10)
Theresa’s advice to school administrators on working with the students that you serve (58:55)
Theresa’s advice to school administrators on working with your teachers (59:15)
Here’s the advice Theresa would give her younger self if she could travel back in time to when she was just starting out in school administration (1:00:15)
Books mentioned in this episode
Connect with Theresa Stager
Educators Lead is a podcast created to help launch educators into the next level of leadership. This show is for you if you are interested in educational leadership as an assistant principal, principal, superintendent, teacher or someone who hopes to be a school leader one day. Educators Lead offers inspiration and practical advice to help you lead more effectively. Jay Willis interviews school leaders three days a week to discuss why and when these educators made the decision to move into school leadership, challenges along the journey, and stories that made it all worthwhile. Educators Lead is a great resource for any educator looking to make a greater impact.
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