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Education & Social Science Graduates

Kasie R. Mainiero, M.A.

What I do now:
I am the principal of the largest elementary school in Caddo Parish, serving more than 1,000 students. I have been a teacher, a counselor, an instructional coordinator, a master teacher, and an assistant principal in my 20 years as an educator.

My work/job consists of:
Daily decision-making, strategic planning, goal setting, interacting with parents, teachers, students, cafeteria workers, custodial staff, community members, etc.

Path to my current career position (how I got from the past to the present):
I started as a swim instructor in college and received my BS from Centenary College in Elementary Education with additonal certifications in early childhood education and church careers. I started working as a teacher. After a few years, I served as grade level leader and my principal at the time encouraged me to pursue administration. I began working on a counseling degree and received that master's degree within two years from Louisiana Tech. I worked as a teacher until getting a job as a counselor at Forest Hill Elementary. My principal there encouraged me to seek an instructional administration degree because he said I was very good at instruction. I went back to school, this time to LSUS to receive my +30 in Supervision and Administration. Editor's Note: This certificate is no longer offered, but the MEDL is comparable.) I went on from there to become an instructional coordinator at that same school. Then I became fascinated with the TAP system and wanted to know more about it because I heard it could help teachers become better teachers. I started seeking a position in a TAP school. I left Caddo Parish and went to DeSoto to become a master teacher. I learned a lot from my short time there, but quickly returned (due to logistics) back to the position of coordinator, this time, at University Elementary. I worked as coordinator for only one brief year before moving into the role of Assistant Principal. After being assistant principal for only one year, I moved into the role of principal.

How I got to LSUS (or why I chose LSUS):
LSUS was an issue of convenience for me. I had some other friends who were going there and I wanted to be a part of what they were doing. They said good things, and it was close in proximity to my house. It was also the only program in that concentration at the time.

Fond memories of LSUS:
We had a lot of fun role playing different scenarios in our classes. Dr. Ray was great and we really learned a great deal in her classes.

LSUS faculty who helped me:
Dr. Ruth Ray is the main professor I remember.

How LSUS helped me succeed:
I could not have moved up in my role if I had not been able to achieve that certification. Out of all of the colleges I have attended, LSUS was by far the most challenging. I think this really helped me do much better than some of my peers at other colleges or universities. Sometimes additional certifications are more important than degrees.

Advice to college-bound students:
Stick with it! Once you figure out what you want to do, don't give up! Do not procrastinate. That is the worst. Come up with a schedule that works for you and follow it.

Tips on choosing a major or career:
Take a personality test. There are certain fields that are made for certain types of people. Go visit or do a shadow day if you are unsure. Even within fields, you may need to shadow someone so you can see if that is the area you want to pursue. For instance, you may want to teach, but do you like 3rd grade or high school better? You need to substitute teach or job shadow to find out.

My toughest professional challenge:
Being a principal is very difficult. I am constantly challenged to look within myself and try to do better, be better, etc. I have been able to make a lot of successful changes to the school, but when something goes wrong, it is very hard to take. When a parent is really upset, or a teacher is really upset about a decision that I have made, it is hard to move on and keep going. What I had to realize is that decisions I make are not going to make everyone happy. I just have to do what I think is best, and keep going.

My toughest personal challenge:
Probably balancing three children, aging parents, and managing a huge school. There are a lot of demands on me and my time. The fact that I am still happily married is a miracle! I have been working on my doctorate for a while now. It is really tough to get it all done. I have realized that I have to make sure I make time for the things that are important to me. I am glad that I have people in my life who are supportive. It really takes a village and I am glad I have one!

Successes (honors, awards, etc.) in my life:
I was proud to be nominated for 40 under 40. I also just received a special achievement award from the Caddo District PTA. Earlier in my career, I wrote and received a grant for $100,000 for my classroom. I am very proud of that accomplishment.

I've learned this from life:
The grass is not greener on the other side of the fence. The grass is greener where you water it! Hard work will get you anywhere you want to go.

What I'd be doing if I had all the time in the world:
Traveling the world!

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