NASHVILLE – October is National Principals Month and Tennesseans for Student Success sat down with Amy Kate Wilkins, Principal at LEAD Southeast High School, a public charter school within the LEAD public schools’ network with six schools serving 2,700 students in the Nashville area.

As an organization, we believe it’s important to celebrate educators and encourage leaders in the community to ‘Know Their Why.’ Read a few excerpts from Mrs. Wilkins below:

Short: What do you love the most about what you do?

Wilkins: “… The relationship that I was able to form with students and with my colleagues as well as with families in the community that I served, especially in these first few formative years really set the foundation for this work. So I think that it is the reason I decided to stay in education, but really what gives me the drive every single day is knowing that I am coming to school, serving students, interacting with parents, and working with colleagues to problem solve and give kids the best possible education they can have here in Nashville.”

Short: Can you tell us a little bit about your school and what makes it unique?

Wilkins: “… We specifically at this school, serve grades 9th through 11th. We’re unique in that we’re a growing high school. Next year we will add our first graduating class. We’re following in the footsteps of our sister school, LEAD Academy who has graduated and sent 100 percent of their seniors off to a career or college path that is best suited for them, and we hope to do that soon in less than a year. Our graduating class of 2021 is pumped to do that, and I think it really sets us apart as a high school here in the city of Nashville.”

Short: In closing, do you have any last thoughts or words you’d like to share?

Wilkins: “… I think what resonates most closely with me is when people affirm that this work is really hard… Being an educator is something that a lot of people aspire to do, but very few stick with because it is really taxing. So my encouragement and closing words would be to stick with it, to value the relationships that the job offers – both with students and the people you are working alongside – and utilize those to energize you in this work. And finally, take care of yourself… So that would definitely be my closing words but also advice for people that are looking to get into this work.”

Click here to view the video.