ACE It Together

Insights from ACE Students, Alumni and Faculty

ACE Alumni Spotlight: Meredith Myall Essalat

Share

Welcome to the ACE Alumni Spotlight, where we highlight alumni members and share what they are up to.

Meredith Myall Essalat (M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction, 2011 and M.Ed. in Educational Leadership, 2015) is principal of Mission Dolores Academy, a K-8 school in San Francisco. She worked in collegiate student life and admissions before heading into academic fundraising. From there, she earned multiple-subject teaching credentials, initially to help her school fundraising skills. But she ended up falling in love with being a teacher and shaping future generations. Read more our interview and be sure to check out her website, OverlyHonestTeacher.com.

ACE: Please tell us about your book!

Meredith Myall Essalat: My book is called The Overly Honest Teacher: Parenting Advice from the Classroom, and it just came out in October 2020. It is filled with practical tips for parents and teachers to encourage one another while holding everyone accountable for their actions.

ACE: How did you decide to advance your education at ACE?

MME: A colleague of mine told me about the program. It was so awesome to be able to work on my graduate studies in both Curriculum and Instruction and Educational Leadership remotely while teaching full-time.

ACE: What made you decide to complete a second degree at ACE?

MME: My principal and mentor at the time encouraged me to pursue administration. My husband and I had relocated to Texas for a brief period of time, so returning to ACE to complete an additional degree made perfect sense.

ACE: How has your ACE degree helped you in your career?

MME: I learned so much from my time at ACE! I developed skills to analyze and implement various modalities and curricula, was encouraged to take risks, and honed the courage it takes to do so. As a school leader now, I really put into practice tools and techniques that were developed in learning forums with my professors and fellow cohort members.

ACE: What tips would you share about learning online?

MME: Earning degrees online doesn’t have to feel sterile or removed from the traditional classroom environment. Collaboration can and does occur, even when we aren’t sharing the same physical space. Capitalize on opportunities to learn from colleagues who are teaching in other parts of the country and in schools with different methodologies and pedagogy— that is how true professional transformation occurs.

ACE: How has your ACE degree helped you in your career?

MME: I learned so much from my time at ACE! I developed skills to analyze and implement various modalities and curricula, was encouraged to take risks, and honed the courage it takes to do so. As a school leader now, I really put into practice tools and techniques that were developed in learning forums with my professors and fellow cohort members.

ACE: Personally or professionally, what are you loving right now?

MME: Even though this school year has been chaotic due to the pandemic, I appreciate the positive aspects of virtual learning. The past year has been such a tremendous catalyst for growth in the healthy, collaborative dialogue among educators and the guardians of their students. The emerald curtain has been pulled back and a glimpse into the inner workings of the classroom environment has been put on display for parents to witness first-hand. Teachers and parents now have conversations around educational terminology and a mutual appreciation for what it takes to target the individual needs of each child within their care. My hope is that we take all that we have learned during this time and apply it to the future knowing that, at the end of the day, we can enable kids to learn in any environment. We just have to be willing to work together.

If you’re thinking of doing another program, ACE alumni can come back and save $250 to $1,250, depending on the program, plus you won’t pay an application fee. See details here.

Photo by Katherine Briccetti Photography

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of American College of Education.

Related Posts

ACE Stories: Meet Andrea

Being an Education Leader ‘in a Moment of Movement, But Also in a Moment of Pause’

The Perks of Continuing Your Education at ACE