Meet Erin Christian, District Success Manager

Erin and Shara led Goalbook’s Winter 2017 Instructional Leadership Design Institute

What was your experience prior to Goalbook?

I spent my entire career as an educator in Philadelphia and Brooklyn; I always knew I wanted to teach. My first role was as a middle school English teacher. I realized very soon I wasn’t just teaching literature, but I was also teaching kids how to read — so many of my kids were behind in reading. I became interested in reading intervention as a way to bridge those literacy gaps that held my students back. After teaching middle school English, I became a literacy coach and RTI coordinator, helping to develop intervention programs for struggling readers, and then eventually worked as an academic dean and school principal.

In many ways, this is my dream job. I love building relationships with diverse groups of instructional leaders around the country.

What gravitated you towards Goalbook’s mission?

I became a teacher because I believed in the transformative power of education, and I wanted to help all kids, especially those who struggled, obtain a quality education. In all honesty, I had assumed that I would always work in schools. However, when I found Goalbook, I realized that it was an organization whose mission aligned to my own reasons for becoming a teacher. The Goalbook team is a group of educators who are passionate about helping teachers support all learners. It’s a diverse team of folks from different backgrounds, yet everyone is unified around a desire to transform instruction — it is an incredibly motivating mission and it is what gets me excited to come to work each day!

What is your role, and what are your favorite parts of it?

I am a District Success Manager, where I work closely with district leaders around the country to plan, lead, and sustain their district’s Goalbook partnership. In many ways, this is my dream job; it’s hard to select just one favorite part! I love building relationships with diverse groups of instructional leaders around the country. I enjoy working with them to design an implementation plan that meets their district’s needs, and then providing the professional development and support necessary to reach our defined goals. Delivering PD is always an enjoyable and exciting aspect of the role; one of the most rewarding parts is when educators express how much Goalbook and our trainings have helped them in their practice.

Outside of the role, what are one or two things you love here?

The people! The Goalbook team is unique and filled with interesting and fun personalities. My team is collaborative, passionate, and creative. It is an honest and supportive environment that provides the space and opportunity to grow professionally and personally. My manager and I meet regularly and I feel comfortable to reach out to him for help, advice, and feedback. I feel empowered and trusted, which is an important part of feeling successful in my role.

My team is collaborative, passionate, and creative. It is an honest and supportive environment that provides the space and opportunity to grow professionally and personally.

What personal goals have you set outside of work?

I’m an active person who loves the outdoors. I usually have a fitness goal on which I am working. Currently, my focus is on improving my rock climbing and surfing skills. Once the winter comes around the focus turns to skiing! This year, I also hope to learn to knit and to plant a garden in my backyard.

What are some of your favorite spots in San Mateo?

Our office is conveniently located in downtown San Mateo near so many cool spots! There are tons of wonderful restaurants that span a wide range of flavors — Mediterranean, sushi, ramen, Thai, Mexican… the list goes on and on! I love that I can get spam musubi (my favorite!) a few blocks away. I also love the different fitness studios nearby — it’s awesome to take a lunchtime pilates or yoga class. Also one of my favorite after-work activities is to go on a run at the nearby Crystal Springs Reservoir. Just a short ride from the office, this 16-mile trail has breathtaking views for a lovely afternoon run.

What’s your favorite memory during your time at Goalbook?

Each year we invite districts and schools to our biannual Winter and Summer Professional Development Institutes. Our PD Institutes are exciting two-day “instructional hackathons” where diverse groups of instructional leaders work together on challenges facing their educators. Our most recent Winter Institute was a huge project that involved lots of people, hard work, and massive coordination. It was incredible to see my colleagues work together and put on an amazing forum of learning for our partners.

Which team activity has been your favorite?

There are many opportunities at Goalbook for team members to socialize with people from other teams. Every month, we have “pod lunches” where we are randomly grouped with others for lunch. Often these are folks who aren’t on my team — as we continue to grow this has become one of my favorite ways to get to know my coworkers better. I learn something new about my colleagues each time.