Doreen Zuno - Cohort 5 Resident Principal

As I reflect on my experience with the Onward Leaders program and this year in general, I am filled with many mixed emotions. These past six months have been such a great experience for me because I feel I have already learned so much and I’m ready to take on a school, just kidding! 

Firstly, I am excited to say that I am slowly but surely becoming proficient with budgets, Quickbooks, Facts, reading bank and salary statements. I must admit, I was filled with uncertainty if I would be able to handle a school’s budget. However, with my mentor and supervisor’s guidance and training, I now am feeling more confident in understanding a budget. I am happy to report that I completed last month’s actuals and three month projections for my mentor. This gave me hope and the confidence I needed for when I become principal and manage the school’s budget.  

I feel I have also seen growth in handling tough conversations with more grace. I have had to have some serious conversations with the staff, and because of experience as an Interim Principal and the proper resources I have been receiving from the Onward Leader’s training, these conversations have ended well and with positive solutions. I know that I still need growth in this area, but I am proud of myself and the progress I am making.  I’ve learned that I need to be more of an empathetic listener and to listen towards understanding. Also, to welcome my emotions and lay them out on the table to help me and the other person understand what is really behind those emotions. In turn, I need to welcome the other person’s emotions to help resolve conflict. 

And lastly, I love how this program has developed my faith and helped me grow as a spiritual leader. Looking back, I have found myself more with peace at the face of life’s challenges. I have taken the activities, prayers, prayer service, and mediations that the Onward Leader program, their director and assistant director have provided for me to help build a positive community for not only my work environment but for my family and friends relationships as well. Out of everything I am learning, I am most grateful to my director, assistant director, the Onward Leaders Program for allowing me to grow in my faith and providing access to resources that have both enriched and changed my perspective on being a spiritual leader. I can’t wait to see what the next six months with this program has in store for me!