Two Upper St. Clair educators recently served as presenters for national and state conferences.
Christine Mussomeli, Boyce Middle School assistant principal, co-presented at the national 2021 WomenEd U.S. Virtual Unconference, and Tracy Smith, high school physics and robotics teacher, presented at the Pennsylvania Science Teachers Association 2021 Virtual Conference.
The theme of the WomenEd US Virtual Unconference was “Leading Through an Epoch of Change.” Mussomeli and Nicole Roberts, a principal in New Kensington-Arnold School District, led the topic “How do We Move from Self-Preservation Back to Self-Care?”
Mussomeli emphasized the contributions of women in the workplace are critical to the overall balance and health of any organization.
“Our topic really developed out of a need for others to acknowledge that the current global pandemic has adversely affected women’s professional growth and progress,” she said. “We felt that our voice could positively contribute to this ongoing conversation and we had a great desire to share skills and strategies to support one another through these challenging times.”
Mussomeli has a sense of responsibility to model for other female leadership qualities and skills that then inspire them to reach their full potential in whatever area they choose.
“I feel so grateful that I work alongside colleagues who value and encourage continuous professional learning and development,” she said. “Every time I attend a conference or in this case, present, I appreciate the opportunity to learn from others and grow as a leader.”
The Virtual Unconference was held via Zoom July 23-24. WomenEd is a global grassroots movement that connects aspiring and existing women leaders in education and gives women leaders a voice in education. Its mission is for more women in education to have the choice to progress on their leadership journey.
Presenting at the PSTA 2021 Virtual Conference: Innovating for the Future in August, Smith presented on the topic “Building a Community to Empower Student Innovators & Entrepreneurs: Every Teacher’s Role in Technology Education.”
“The presentation was focused around creating a collaborative environment where participants could share ideas, inspiration, and resources to empower student innovators and entrepreneurs regardless of the courses that they teach,” she said.
Smith finds that conferences are a great place to learn, network and create.
“Every time I attend a conference, there is at least one thing that I take away from it to help develop me as an educator,” she reported. “It is easy to get caught up in your daily responsibilities as a teacher. Attending a conference can be just the thing to expand your educator role into new and rewarding directions.”
In March, Smith will be a presenter at the International Technology and Engineering Educators Association Conference in Orlando, speaking on “Building a Community to Empower Student Innovators.”
“I love sharing my passion for education at any level, whether it is within a classroom of students or a room full of professionals. I hope to inspire people to take action and make a difference in this world,” she said. “It is always fun when you get to interact with people who have a vision similar to your own. I hope to ‘find my people’ who want to bring innovation, technology and entrepreneurship opportunities to K-12 education and collaborate with them to cut down the lag in educational implementation.”