Being on school campuses and interacting with students is something I get to do on a relatively regular basis. It’s a perk of the job. But it’s been a while since I’ve been an official student myself.
Perhaps that’s why my first Leadership Pasadena class took me a bit by surprise. I had forgotten the rush. The rush of learning with others. The rush of discovering different ways of thinking. The rush of new ideas. And yes, the rush of homework!
Leadership Pasadena is a personal development classroom for community leaders from varying professional backgrounds that focuses on peer-learning and collaboration. It’s objective: strengthen our community by teaching participants how to be constructive leaders. While engaging in community-oriented projects, participants learn to bolster their community by being supportive and inclusive teammates first.
I was delighted Pasadena Educational Foundation offered me this opportunity to grow both personally and professionally. But then… that’s what PEF does. When your goal is to “achieve excellence and equity in all PUSD schools,” you champion lifelong learning. PEF not only encourages greater student learning, it supports the professional learning of teachers and district staff, too. From sponsoring the recent PUSD Principals’ Retreat to partnering with Art Center College of Design to offer teacher fellowships, PEF believes education is vital for all and lifts everyone up.
To make an immediate, positive impact in our community, Leadership Pasadena participants work in small teams on projects ranging from community diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts to advancing financial literacy. My group’s project is focused on bridging the digital divide. Along with five other LP students, I am learning about areas of our community that lack adequate internet access and how we can address this inequity. This is exactly the kind of knowledge that will help me be a better community engagement manager and support PUSD families effectively.
I’ll graduate from Leadership Pasadena in June. I expect by then I will have learned a lot about myself, but most importantly, about this community I love. Frank Baum, author of The Wizard of Oz said, “Knowledge is the best and safest treasure to acquire.” Learning is indeed the treasure that grows.
Share the treasure of an excellent education. Give to PEF today.
By Nancy Carol Inguanzo, Community Engagement and Volunteer Manager