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Women in Artful Leadership Addressed by a Veteran Trio in Conference Room of Eager Listeners

Maria Ott, left, Ruth Perez, center, and Carmella Franco, right, addressed the barriers and rewards of being a female mentor and leader in education.

“Artful leadership builds on the innovative and creative talents of female leaders to challenge the status quo and open doors of opportunity for all students,” according to a joint statement issued at the AASA national conference Thursday by Carmella Franco, a retired superintendent, Maria Ott, a clinical professor at University of Southern California, and Ruth Perez, deputy superintendent in Riverside County, Calif.

The trio led a conference session “Women and Artful Leadership for the New Student Majority.”

Female administrators can use their unique and artful skill set to build success for students and staff. Speaking to a room of female leaders, Franco, Ott and Perez addressed the barriers and rewards of being a female mentor and leader in education.

Ott, a former superintendent, stated women need to know that they are rated higher than men in learning agility, ability to inspire and motivate others, and knowing how to build relations with high integrity and honesty.

Challenging the room, Ott asked, “What are you doing to ensure students have the personalized learning experience they deserve? We are being asked to rethink education. The new normal is not the classroom that we were teachers in.”

Bold decisions will be the hallmark of this era.

“As women leaders we bring a sensitivity to leadership that sees beyond the exterior and emotional needs of students and staff and make courageous and bold decisions to address them with compassion,” said Perez. 

(Lisa Trail is a reporter with Conference Daily Online and director of communications and strategic initiatives with Murfreesboro City Schools in Murfreesboro, Tenn.)

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