As the saying goes, “When you educate a girl, you educate a nation.” And, this notion is at the core of Tamesha Webb’s mission as an educator: to change the school experience for young girls in the United States, particularly girls of color.
As a student in School Leadership Program (SLP), Webb put her mission to work as the principal intern at an all-girls middle school, an experience that served as both motivation and inspiration during the past year.
“The girls at the school were a constant reminder of my why,” says Webb. “They also reminded me of the importance of representation, and because of that, I knew that I had no choice but to keep going onward and upward. Every day that I was at the school, my fire was relit. The students at my internship were inspiration and motivation to continue working on my mission to improve girl’s education.”
After graduation, Webb will be working with the Young Women’s Leadership Network, supporting the development of an all-girls school in Newark, New Jersey, scheduled to open for the 2019–20 school year. She is grateful for the time at HGSE and the friends and connections she made along the way. “I am leaving HGSE with so much more than I imagined I would,” she says.
“The School Leadership Program selected Tamesha Webb as its Intellectual Contribution Award,” says Professor Mary Grassa O’Neill, faculty director of SLP, “because of her strong and inspirational leadership, ability to bring people together and her keen intelligence, hard work, warm personality and positive outlook.”
Webb will receive the Intellectual Contribution Award for SLP at Convocation on May 23. Here, she reflects on her year at HGSE and looks at her future in education.
What was your greatest fear before attending HGSE?
My greatest fear was that I would not be able to find anyone that I genuinely connected with. I thought about how comfortable I would be in this space. Since being at HGSE, I have found several people that I have developed authentic relationships with; and I have learned that there are affirming communities here for everyone.
Is there any professor or class that significantly shaped your experience at the Ed School?
Irvin Scott has been everything that I didn’t know I needed at HGSE. He is such an inspiring professor who truly cares about his students and is genuinely invested in our individual growth and development. Whenever I was facing a challenge, he was the first professor that I would go to, to navigate the problem and figure out a solution. Every Thursday I looked forward to attending his Leaders in Education class, as he would push our thinking and engage us in discussions that shaped our personal theory of action as future school leaders. Dr. Scott is truly a wealth of knowledge and a voice of wisdom.
What advice do you have for next year’s students going through your program?
Be intentional, yet flexible. Your time at HGSE is short, so be purposeful, but attend the lecture, join that organization, grab lunch with a classmate… get all that you can out of this incredible experience.
What is something that you learned at HGSE that you will take with you throughout your career in education?
One of the many lessons that I have learned at HGSE is the importance of putting a stake in the ground as a leader, and clearly stating my intent and intensity. No matter where I go in my career, I will always remember to distinguish my notions and stakes from my boulders and tombstones.