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WCSD recognizes Women's History Month with principal Kristin Shaw

WCSD recognizes Women's History Month with principal Kristin Shaw

March is Women’s History Month. This month is dedicated to recognizing and celebrating all of the incredible women in American history who have made contributions to our society in a variety of fields. This month, the Washingtonville Central School District is recognizing three principals within the WCSD community whose contributions to our community are valued and appreciated. 

Kristin Shaw, principal of Round Hill Elementary School, is passionate about leadership and positive change. 

“I think that there seems to be a need for passionate, determined, strong, organized women who are willing to lead change and commit 100% to improving education,” said Mrs. Shaw. “I feel like now more than ever it is very important to have women represent that. It all starts with a good environment for students to learn and grow and women in education are leading that charge.”

Before starting her journey in education, Mrs. Shaw went to college to study in the STEM field where she would focus on engineering. After receiving guidance from one of her college professors, she started her path to pursuing education and majored in English.

“The more that I went along in my English program, I thought, I need to couple this with education and I started taking classes to see how I felt about pursuing education,” she said. “It really solidified for me, when I did my student teaching. Because that’s when you really know. And unless you are sitting in a classroom and facilitating lessons yourself, you don’t really know until you know and I knew I loved facilitating learning.”

Mrs. Shaw not only had a passion for learning and creating engaging and interesting lessons for students, she also learned that she loves helping students gain excitement for learning. As an administrator, Mrs. Shaw enjoys the teamwork aspect of leadership. 

“I love the idea of helping teachers collaborate because I do feel it’s more like a collaborative team effort to work together to improve learning for everybody,” she said. “And, I love the idea of working together toward the common goal of making a classroom, school building, or curriculum more accessible and allowing students to be more successful.”

When it comes to inspiration, Mrs. Shaw has had many women in her life whom she has looked up to and who have served as people who have inspired her.

“My mother was an administrator in a hospital. She was a medical records administrator and privacy officer for many hospitals. And she changed entire departments that are responsible for transcription and coding and a lot of behind-the-scenes operations of hospitals,” she said. “So, her inspiration to me was twofold, in that she was an inspiration and that she was a working mother. And, she did that while raising three children, and a lot of the time it was on her own.”

“That was one aspect, but it was also how she led others. She has always been a very fiercely determined, sure-of-herself type of leader. But she knew how to navigate many types of personalities, and many types of situations. And she had the respect of many different people for many different years in the hospitals that she made a difference in.”

Another one of Mrs. Shaw’s inspirations is Dr. Becky Prophet, who was her professor at Alfred University. 

“She encouraged me to pursue being an English teacher. How she interacted with her students and how she led by example inspired me. I wanted to have the same sort of engaging personality. I actually took a Women’s Studies class from her to reinforce women’s history. She did a lot and she really believed in making change in the community as well.”

As a female leader in education, Mrs. Shaw offers advice to young ladies who are currently growing up and figuring out how to navigate life.

“I would say, no matter what you are interested in, no matter where you are in life, whether you are a high school student or college student – I think it is so important to take the time to find out what you are passionate about. What is the thing that gets you out of bed in the morning?”

“When you have a job, you’re responsible for it,” she said. “And, we all have responsibilities that go along with that. But, if you enjoy what you’re doing every day, if you’re passionate about making a change and whatever it is that you want to pursue, then those days that might have some stress in them are made worthwhile because it’s something you’re passionate about.”

She encourages young women and students in general to understand that it is OK to start off loving one field and then switch to another field. 

“That’s OK because that’s part of the journey as well. I started off thinking that I wanted to do engineering and I may have been good at it but who knows? I think they have to really listen to how they feel as they go through and they take courses or have experience. I think if people lead with that, then you can never go wrong because you’re leading from the most pure place possible.”

Women's History Month