Instructional Specialist – Alumni Success – Tagrid Sihly

Instructional Specialist – Alumni Success – Tagrid Sihly

Meet another trail-blazing CITE alumna doing great work, Ms.Tagrid Sihly. She is an Instructional Specialist for Primary Grades, through the “Chancellor’s and Mayor’s Universal Literacy Initiative,” now in its second year, which is geared to improving teacher quality in NYC schools. Ms. Sihly graduated from both the College of St. Rose School Building Leader and School District Leader programs through CITE. As a result, she received certification in Advanced Study from New York State in SBL and SDL. Tagrid spoke with the Alumni Coordinator at CITE, Joshua Davis for this interview.

Responses by Tagrid Sihly  

How did you hear about CITE?

I first heard about CITE from my supervisor at work. I was interested in participating in a leadership program and pursuing my leadership certification and she recommended CITE. I then researched it and gathered information that would eventually prepare me for participation in the program in January of 2011.

What made you decide that CITE was the right fit for you?

It was very easy to apply into the program. I remember that it was easy to navigate the CITE website and register. All the information I needed was there in one place. After researching other programs, I also found that CITE was the most affordable. You can’t beat that! CITE was also the most convenient as far as location of classes and time. I loved the fact that the classes were conveniently located close to home; I attended classes at Oceanside High School. Having classes on Saturdays was also great and convenient because I didn’t have to attend classes at night after a long day of work. I also liked the fact that we learned together as a cohort. That made all the difference! I developed collegial relationships with my cohort mates and we learned a lot from each other, especially during our weekly check-ins (with Dr. Hawkins). The weekend retreats in Albany were also great in building relationships and adding a sense of excitement to the learning experience.

How was your CITE experience?

My experience with CITE has been wonderful. Whenever I communicated with the office staff, they were always courteous and responded to my inquiries in a timely and professional manner. I loved the CITE newsletter that I subscribed to at the time because it kept me abreast of what was going on in the program, and it also informed me of upcoming course offerings. The courses offered were well-planned and the instructors, especially Dr. Hawkins and Dr. DeLuca, were knowledgeable and passionate about promoting high-quality leaders in all schools. The interview process for entry into the program was also well-organized and professionally implemented.

Is there a particular obstacle that you had to overcome while being a student?

I had many good experiences while being a student in the program. I really can’t recall any obstacles. I learned so much with and from my colleagues and my awesome professors.

What program(s) did you successfully complete? Can you tell me why you decided to get into that program?

I successfully completed the School Building Leader and School District Leader program. As a result, I achieved certification in Advanced Study from New York State in SBL and SDL. I had been a classroom teacher and a reading teacher for many years and I felt that I had a lot to give on a larger scale. I felt that in a position of leadership I could be even more effective in promoting success in all teachers and students in today’s schools. 

Where/What are you doing now?

This past year, I have been a Universal Reading Coach in P.S. 189 in Crown Heights in Brooklyn. The goal of the Chancellor’s and Mayor’s Universal Literacy Initiative, which is now in its second year, is geared to improving teacher quality in NYC schools. The goal of the initiative is to ensure that all second graders perform on grade-level standard in literacy by the year 2026. Reading coaches are highly trained to impart content knowledge with teachers and strengthen pedagogical practices. As a reading coach, I worked side by side with fifteen K to 2 teachers. I provided support through modeling instruction, co-teaching and co-planning. I also helped build capacity through professional learning sessions. In March of this year, I applied and interviewed for an Instructional Specialist position with the program. And in April I received the good news. I am now an Instructional Specialist for Primary Grades. Besides planning and delivering professional learning experiences for the 150 coaches in Cohort 2, I will be overseeing and supporting 24 coaches in Districts 16 and 19 in NYC. I am excited and looking forward to this next step in my career ladder.

Are you happy with your overall investment?

I am quite happy with my overall investment. It took a while to finally find a leadership position that’s the right fit for me. But I really believe that all good things come at the right time. I am sure that my participation in the leadership program with CITE inspired my learning and interest in school leadership. I feel like everything that I learned in the program has paved the way for me as an educational leader. I will forever be grateful to Dr. H and everyone at CITE.

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