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January 24, 2013

Teacher aspiring to be a school administrator

By Michelle Miller
Cooperstown Crier

---- — MILFORD

Milford science teacher Kevin Stevens has been serving as an administrative intern at the district since June. Now that his six-month experience is over, he hopes to become a building leader at a local school.

“I have had different leadership positions in the school through different committees and through the union. I have enjoyed all of those things and have done some other things in the community also. The next step for me, that makes sense, is to expand on that and really see if that was a direction that I wanted to go into,” Stevens said.

“It is. I really like it,” he continued. “I love schools, the students and I really like how the whole school community works together in building that environment to create opportunities for teachers and students. That is really what I would like to focus on. I want to go a little bit beyond the classroom.”

Stevens, who has been a science teacher for about 15 years, will be eligible for certification next month. He said he plans to stay in the area. Leaving was never an option (his wife works at the district where his children also attend), he said.

“I have always wanted to work in a rural school,” he said. “I think these K-12 rural schools are unique places.”

Stevens said he believes there will be lots of opportunities for him as he searches for a job because there are so many small rural schools

“I am getting a degree in school leadership, and the program that I am in prepares me to become either a district leader, which is like a superintendent or a building leader, which is like a principal-level position,” Stevens said.

Stevens said he decided to participate in Binghamton University’s 27-month program rather than completing studies online so that he would have better networking opportunities with people in the field.

“I enjoyed the conversations and discussions that we had in classes compared to an online program,” he said.

Stevens said he drove to Binghamton one day a week in the spring and fall and twice a week during the summer.

MCS Superintendent Peter Livhsin said he feels Stevens will be a very good administrator no matter where he ends up. Stevens spent most of his summer shadowing Livshin.

“We gave him an overview of the district’s operations, the business office and a lot of the legal issues that we deal with on a regular basis. I dragged him to a case VP meeting to see how that worked. He did a lot of things on the anti-bullying projects and the policies,” Livshin said.

During the fall, Livshin said, Stevens did a lot of assistant principal type of stuff — dealing with students, running faculty meetings and getting involved with a lot of parent issues.

“I think he got a real good overview. We let him loose in terms of doing things and he was very good at it,” Livshin said.

Stevens said it was great being able to do his internship at the same district as he teaches.

“It was nice to be here at school because there were people who were supportive of me and also I had a little bit of understanding of the students and the teachers so the conversations that I could have with them was much easier than as if I did not know them or if I were just getting to know them. The familiarity that I had with them was really helpful.”

When discussing the overall experience Stevens said, “What it forced me to do is focus more on each student rather than an entire grade. What I was there to support them and the teacher with improving. It was a richer experience and a deeper experience with those students because you start working with them at a different level than I was just as a classroom teacher. I really enjoyed that.”