Academic Leadership: The Online Journal


Betsy Surplus


Thirty years of my life had been devoted to teaching and administration in a suburban public school district. I retired and made plans to move on to a related career in higher education and complete my doctoral studies in educational leadership. When I began my career as a community college developmental reading instructor, I was prepared to experience change in my leadership actions and understandings as I followed the spiraling path of learning that typifies reflective practice, which was key to this study. However, I did not anticipate encountering so many forks in the road. My learning path was guided by my curiosities about unfamiliar theories and beliefs that I encountered during my studies. There were so many new fields of interest to explore. I had to be selective because I could not investigate, even in a lifetime, all the areas of inquiry that beckoned me. My choice of concepts for further study was guided by answering the question, “What concepts will help me to understand the needs of my students better and make me a more effective teacher?” Beyond the initial issues and topics that directly related to my teaching practice, I chose two other areas for more in-depth study: feminist theory and social justice.