In this episode we’re talking with Mrs. Donita Townsel. We discover the events that triggered her desire to teach, dig into the advice she has for principals and learn the lessons that sparked the inspiration for her book.
Mrs. Townsel has been an educator for 31 years. She spent about ½ that time as a middle and high school level science teacher and the other has as a lead counselor. In that role she worked hand and hand with the principal positively impacting school culture and academic achievement. Along with Dr. Selina Thedford she is the co-author of " The Ultimate Survival Toolkit for High School Students and their Parents" a step by step guide to navigate the college and career application process. We’ll get into some of the great advice and strategies in her book, but before we do so we get into her educational journey.
Summary Educational Journey
After graduated from Atlanta public schools. Donita attended Telladega College in Alabama with the intention of going into medical school. Realizing she’d done a little too much partying to pass the Med Cat she decided instead to join a lab. While living in Miami and looking for jobs in that field she discovered that there was a teacher shortage in the Sciences. Taking a look at her own skills she realized that there wasn’t enough interaction with people working in a lab. So, she decided to give teaching a shot on a provisional teaching certificate.
I was determined to become a great teacher despite the mentoring I got.
I wouldn’t have survived if I didn’t have the thirst to become a great teacher.
Something in my personality made students confide in me.
Our (counselors) time is precious just like the principal’s
Counselors are the heart of the building.
Involve others and empower them in the organization.
Words of wisdom
Go to other content area teachers and shadow them to see what they’re doing and what you can bring back to your own classroom.
The mindset [of students] can impact whether or not the student is retained or drops out of college.
You create buy-in when you include counselors in the leadership team.
Jesus had a team he couldn’t do it all himself. He had the disciples.
Getting principals to see and understand the role of the counselor
Principals often give disciplinary duties to counselors which blur the lines and makes it difficult for students to trust them.
When it comes to discipline, find someone else to fulfill that role. Perhaps have someone switch duties.
Create systems that can smooth out work loads.
About Her Book
The inspiration for book " The Ultimate Survival Toolkit for High School Students and their Parents" a step by step guide to navigate the college and career application process, came from the many parent nights where the same questions were asked repeatedly. She and her coauthor Dr. Selina Thedford realized there was a pain point and they could address it. They are currently building a curriculum around the lessons they learned and plan to have that out as well in the near future.
Ideal audience includes juniors and seniors and their families as well as other counselors and schools looking for a handy guide for their students.
Most impactful sections of the book: Mindset and Communication sections
Advice for Principals
Counselors and Principals need to be a team.
Find space for counselors to create a curriculum of college and career readiness and socio emotional content.
Include counselors in the leadership team.
Jesus CEO by Laurie Beth Jones
21 Irrefutable Laws Of Leadership by John Maxwell
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I'm a Principal and an Entrepreneur. I'm the former owner of a food venture Hustling Hoagies, the author of the children's picture books Detective Dwayne Drake and the Alphabet Thief, Detective Dwayne Drake and The Case of the Mathematical Misfit and the ebook Making it as a Male Model in Michigan. I've worked professionally as a model and commercial actor......