Meet Shara Watkins, District Success Manager

Shara with Jon Mitchell at Goalbook Leadership Design Institute

What gravitated you towards Goalbook’s mission?

I began my career in education in NYC where I taught 1st grade and then 6th and 8th grades ELA. In these settings, I was an instructional coach and PD lead. When I moved to California, I supported a school district in San Jose as they worked to implement more sustainable systems around grade level collaboration and PD. I was drawn to Goalbook’s focus on supporting all students and the specific attention to improving instructional practice for all educators.

What are the favorite parts of your role?

I work on our Success team, where I support our district partners as they implement Goalbook. One of my favorite parts of the role is working closely with district leaders, helping them design creative ways to solve instructional challenges and then supporting them to execute on the plan. I love interacting with our partners in person and traveling to deliver PD where I am able to see how beneficial our instructional resources are for educators around the country. In addition, I have grown to love project management, specifically executing Goalbook’s annual Summer and Winter Institutes. I appreciate the ability to explore new skills and to learn more about myself and my strengths.

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

I love the openness to feedback and growth within the team — there is true dedication to leverage the unique experiences we all bring and to learn from one another. Things evolve and change constantly, which is a testament to the importance of awareness and reflection. In addition, the people that work at Goalbook are one of a kind — lunchtime and casual discussions are filled with humor and real talk.

How do you communicate with your manager?

Goalbook doesn’t feel hierarchical, so working with my manager feels like a partnership. We are able to leverage one another’s expertise and I’m able to learn from her experiences.

“One of my favorite parts of the role is working closely with district leaders, helping them design creative ways to solve instructional challenges and then supporting them to execute on the plan.”

What are some areas you’d like to continue growing professionally?

I would like to continue building my skill set around project management, feeling more confident with negotiating with vendors (e.g. when we plan our annual symposiums), and growing in my role as a manager in response to feedback from my team.

Shara with Earlene Hyman at Rialto Unified School District

What personal goals have you set outside of work?

Work-life balance is very important to me. I feel grateful to have the flexibility to achieve this and have felt good about personal goals I have set, such as being involved in our Wellesley Alumnae Chapter and volunteering at my local elementary school in San Mateo.

What are some of your favorite spots in San Mateo?

Oh man — so many! Sushi Sam’s, Ramen Dojo, Philz Coffee, Antoine’s Cookies, and Pausa top the list if we’re talking food and coffee. I also love walking around Central Park and going to Equinox. Since I live in San Mateo, I represent pretty hard!

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

The warm-up activity from our first Winter Institute. We had planned for months, spent long hours preparing, and to see it all come together with our district and school partners who traveled here from all around the country was amazing.