BCSI Staff Spotlight—Becky Holland
By Avery Lacey, ’20
When Becky Holland started her senior year at Hillsdale College in 2008, she thought she was going to be a pediatrician. Eleven years later, she works as the Director of Curriculum and Instruction for the Barney Charter School Initiative.
After spending hours in Director of Career Services Joanna Wiseley’s office applying for medical school, Becky took Wiseley’s advice and chatted with Dr. Daniel Coupland in Hillsdale’s Education Department. Dr. Coupland suggested that Becky direct her love of science and children in a different direction: teaching. She volunteered in the 1st and 2nd grade classroom at Hillsdale Academy with Mrs. Carin Harner, who now also works with the BCSI team. After attending Hillsdale’s first Classical School Job Fair, Becky took a job at the Vanguard School in Colorado Springs. “Thankfully I had a good teacher coach,” she says, “because I had no idea what I was doing.” Little did she know she would go on to play the role of mentor in many teachers’ lives.
After four-and-a-half years of teaching upper school science, Becky applied to be the second staff member of Hillsdale’s new Barney Charter School Initiative. “I was really excited that Hillsdale was getting into the public arena,” she recalls. “The initiative is reaching so many who may not otherwise have access to a classical liberal arts education.” She remembers looking forward to “being a part of something bigger than one classroom.”
Now, Becky works with BCSI teachers and administrators all over the country. She leads a team of people who work mainly with new schools and teachers on “everything academic-related.” Her job includes running a ten-day training for teachers before a new school opens, providing classroom observation and feedback, and answering questions about the curriculum. Her team addresses concerns as small as modeling specific math problems or developing the skill of writing assessments. Becky says, “We want to be a resource—we always want to ask, ‘How can we help?’”
Since Becky started working for BCSI, it has grown from four schools to more than 20. “The growth is exciting,” she says. “We get calls all the time about starting schools.” She also looks forward to working more deeply with “older” schools. “I think it’s been easy for us to think of a five- to seven-year-old school as really mature, but they still have challenges, and we are in a unique position to help them,” Becky says.
Becky does miss the classroom, so she enjoys her school visits. What she loves most, though, is supporting the staff. “I really get excited when I see teachers doing what they love to do,” she says. “It’s great to work with people who have really bought into the mission. The education profession is a tough one, and these teachers are working extremely hard. To get to encourage them and help them get better at what they’re doing—I love that.”