Women in Leadership Series: Headteacher, Samantha Williams

On March 8th 2019, International Women’s Day (#IWD2019) will be celebrated with the campaign #BalanceforBetter; calling for a more gender-balanced world. I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to celebrate the achievements of women in leadership roles. I asked a number of female leaders to answer a series of questions about their experiences to share with you right here on the Ad Florem blog.

In this interview, we meet Samantha, a Headteacher from London. Read our Women in Leadership Interview Series to meet the other interviewees.

Samantha has been teaching for 24 years across primary education. She was a class teacher for 7 years and has had 17 years leadership experience. Her leadership experience has been: Senior Leader, Assistant Headteacher, Deputy Headteacher, Head of school and Headteacher.

Samantha, thank you for taking part in our Women in Leadership series. Tell us, what are the skills that you have that make you well suited to your role?

A leader within a school needs to have: a clear vision, forward thinking, drive, ambition, inspiration, dedication, hard work, motivation/teamwork, integrity, honesty, good communicator and listener.

And what does leadership look like for you?

The same as above, but also someone who wants to make a difference to education and support pupils and staff achieving the best results they can.

Can you share one leadership lesson you have learned in your career?

To learn from your mistakes (reflect) and never be embarrassed to ask for help.

Who inspires you, and why?

The Executive Headteacher Julie Messer who I worked with at Eldon Primary School. She supported me along my journey and believed in me, when I didn’t.

How do you balance work and life responsibilities? Do you have any practical tips?

This I find difficult, as I was working 60 hours a week and looking after my family. We now have Mental Health as our School Improvement Priority. This is an area we are looking at how to improve our work life balance.

Describe yourself in three words

Happy, hardworking, and honest.

Have you ever suffered with ‘imposter syndrome’? What does it mean to you?

 No.

What challenges have you faced in your leadership career, and what tips do you have for how to overcome them?

 Staffing – taking on students and then employing them as teachers (grow within).

Parents – courses on How to Handle Difficult Parents and support from HR and legal.

Ofsted – course, other Headteachers, Local Authority and Department for Education.

Budget – fund raising, support with a company called Count On, courses, Local Authority.

What’s an accomplishment that you are proudest of?

Becoming a Headteacher.

What does gender balance in the workplace mean to you?

In primary schools there are a lot of female teachers. I would like to see more male teachers in primary to act as role models. I think in all work places and leadership roles should have a gender balance.

Do you have any advice or words of encouragement for aspiring female leaders? Or just for leaders in general if you prefer.

Believe in yourself and don’t give up!

How to find Samantha online

 

Samantha Williams, Headteacher

Eversley Primary School, Enfield, London

Read our Women in Leadership Interview Series to meet the other interviewees.

 

 

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