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Julie Coles Recounts Her Experiences As An Educator and Author

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Julie Coles

“Julie Coles is an aspiring author from the Northeast region of the U.S.. As a new author and independent publisher Julie’s writing’s display her extraordinary perspective about a public education system in dire need of change.”

 

Education became Julie’s primary passion since spending her summers as a camp counselor for special needs children, teens and adults. The experience was so memorable because of the relationships formed with her campers. Both exhausting and exhilarating, Julie discovered her passion for supporting the needs of others, who helped her learn how to become a  compassionate humanitarian.   

 

After receiving her bachelor’s degree from Brown University and her masters from the University of Connecticut, Julie went on to have a fulfilling career as a special education teacher. Enrolling in an Educational Leadership program to obtain her Certificate of Advanced Graduate Studies (C.A.G.S.) at Cambridge College in Massachusetts enabled her to achieve her goal of leading her own school. 

 

Years of experience as a teacher and school leader taught her a great deal about the challenges both students and teachers face in economically challenged communities. Those experiences also influenced Julie’s decision to bring awareness to others about how outdated institutionalized policies unfairly tether public schools in many communities to substandard educational practices. Today she uses her writings, and new role as an author, to propose new educational models. The educational models are intended to remedy centuries of educational inequities contributing to pervasive academic achievement gaps. 

 

The experience Julie Coles brings to her books lays a foundation for the future that is hopeful, but rooted in the reality of life around us. She knows the resources teachers lack, the opportunities provided to some schools but not all, and identified an approach to resolve the concerns. Her dedication to equality in education stems from her passion for the educational well-being of current and future generations of students.  

 

Author Julie Coles created her first book to lay out a platform that will bridge gaps by empowering  students, engaging their families, and providing innovative strategies and instructional tools for teachers to assist them Cultivate Exceptional Classrooms; which is also the title of Julie Coles’ second book, scheduled for release in 2023. 

 

Why did you decide to create your own business?

 

I decided to create my own business because I wanted a public platform that would allow me to share ideas about how to improve the quality of education and the overall educational experience of students.

 

The process of creating my own business was influenced by topics connected with my experiences in education. My first book, and future educational books I am currently writing, center on my belief that our public education system needs to live up to the promise of “leaving no child behind”.  However, rather than just focusing on the problems, I wanted to use my time imagining solutions to remove and replace barriers hindering populations in urban and rural communities from achieving successful educational outcomes. The problem solving process was challenging because it required some innovative thinking about how to depart from current models and practices by replacing them with something better. I learned it is essential to never leave a void. I also wanted to be explicit about what I intend to achieve. My hope is by stating, “Here’s how we build more hopeful futures for our children.”, it will help provide clarity about the mission.  And in that spirit I decided to create my own business to reflect my aspirations for all kids. It is also why I chose to name my business, Because I Can, and publishing company, Imagine A More Promising Future Publishing.

 

What do you love most about the industry you are in?

 

As an author I appreciate the opportunity to share my perspective about our obligation to invest greater interest in the conditions that impact the futures of all children. Exploring ideas is one way to begin the dialogue. But my hope is whether or not people embrace my ideas, they are motivated to speak up and share their thoughts. We need to be open to diverse perspectives. 

 

What would you tell others looking to get into your industry?

 

My advice to new writers and aspiring authors is to simply begin then continue writing.  I found it useful to write about a variety of topics that came to mind. After all, we are multi-dimensional people. For those who desire to publish their writings, start exploring steps to familiarize yourself with the publishing process; including publishing options. Independent publishing is a very different path from traditional publishing. I opted for self-publishing because I wanted to retain my freedom.  

 

What is the biggest lesson you have learned during your career?

 

While not necessarily the biggest lesson I learned, certainly an important lesson that has served me well as a novice in independent publishing is not to let the “unknown” prevent me from moving forward. Independent publishing is a multi-step process and some of the individual steps included a series of tasks that needed to be completed. As a first timer, where everything was totally foreign to me, learning about the scope and sequence of what needed to get done was sometimes daunting. It took a lot of reminding myself to “ relax, breathe, research, process what I learned, re-read for more clarity any information not initially understood and then just get it done.” Building several different “To Do” lists was especially helpful, because I take particular joy in checking off each step achieved and declaring it “Ta Done!” As you can see, having a sense of humor is helpful too.

 

If you could change one thing you did in the beginning of your career, what would it be?

 

Great question! It was what I experienced in the beginning of my teaching career that influenced my decision to write about missing links in my second book, Cultivating Exceptional Classrooms. It’s one thing to enroll in education programs in college in preparation for my teaching career, then experience an entirely different landscape from what I expected as a first year teacher; and a novice. Now, as an author I am using my new platform to change one thing I encountered in the beginning of my career as a first year teacher. I am advocating for a new staffing model that embeds professional development specialists inside of schools to support first year teachers. Having to learn on my own how to manage a classroom, prepare instruction, design lessons and a range of other responsibilities while concurrently addressing the emotional and social needs of students with a variety of learning deficiencies was challenging. It could have been made less challenging if full-time support specialists were embedded at my school to guide me. I have no doubt that the guidance would have accelerated my advancement from being a novice teacher to a much more competent educator.   

 

What is one piece of advice that you have never forgotten?

 

Generally one piece of advice I have never forgotten is to never forget really good advice.

 

What is one thing you would change in your industry today if you could? 

 

Since my current career as a writer is linked with my former career as an educator and school leader, my first book, America’s Educational Crossroads; Continue to Widen the Achievement Gap or Make a Seismic Shift Forward into the 21st Century, became my platform for proposing several changes in our public education system. Among the changes I proposed is discontinuing the practice of failing students and burdening them with the responsibility of being insufficiently educated. Instead I proposed a new practice of assessing errors students make as revelations of learning gaps that are deserving of remedial or additional instruction. But obtaining mastery as a means of demonstrating how well students understand what they are taught ought to be the bar set for all students; including those who earn passing grades of “C” or “B”. Whatever errors are revealed in any student’s work being assessed, all students are deserving of additional instruction and an opportunity to achieve “A’s”, which is universally perceived as obtaining mastery level performance. It’s also how we close academic achievement gaps.  

 

Explain the proudest day of your professional life. 

 

The proudest day of my new and current professional life as a writer was February 1st 2022 when my first book, America’s Educational Crossroads, was published and available to the public, followed by the successful launch of my website. February 2022 was particularly gratifying because I achieved a trifecta; publication of the book, going public with my first website and sharing a video of a contemporary high school campus model featuring a network of career and college prep programs. The Collaborative High School Campus Model, available on the Media Page of my website, illustrates a 21st century model designed to align college and career aspirations of students with their four-year high school educational experience. Pursuing a high school diploma will no longer be just a formality. A more holistic educational experience that links acquiring skills in careers of their own choosing, while receiving quality education at the highest standards will help students find purpose in attending high school. 

 

Jerry Cooper is a reporter who is based in New York. He has previously worked for several media organizations, including NY Wire.

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