2021 A.O.Y. Finalist - Colleen Vogt

Meet Colleen Vogt

Director, Will Carleton Academy

23 years ago while she was pregnant with her second out of five children, Colleen Vogt opened the doors to Will Carleton Academy for the first time. In addition to her family at home, she built a huge family within the walls of her school from staff to families that return year after year, the love was always flowing. She holds her school to a very high standard for multiple reasons, including because all of her children have graduated from there! In a time where everyone is turning to technology, Colleen believes firmly that students need to learn in a traditional environment. Students can be overwhelmed by notifications and distracted by screens, but pencil and paper are the core of education.  

A headshot of 2021 AOY finalist, Colleen Vogt
A headshot of 2021 AOY finalist, Colleen Vogt holding a quilt.
A headshot of 2021 AOY finalist, Colleen Vogt

How do you live out your school's mission?

I live out my school's mission by reminding myself of it each day. When I see faculty that I have hired, parents that I have committed to, and students that I believe in on campus, I am easily reminded why it is important to be the one who believes in the mission the most; they need someone to be courageous and steadfast. This task can be difficult some days for reasons defined by the challenges that the position of instructional leader brings, but most days it is "the why" of my TO DO LIST. I believe in the idea that with few distractions, education is simplest when highlighting the beautiful: a good story, a melodic piece of music, a challenging yet compute-able math problem, an historical figure whose work has changed our lives. These are the foundations of Will Carleton Academy's mission, coupled with showing respect for and dedication to our studies, our peers and others in our daily lives. The community of Will Carleton Academy deserves someone who will be accountable for the success that it has earned; that is the foundation of my responsibility each day. I am often rewarded with a genuine "Thank you" from a student, parent or staff member. For those I am grateful. Grateful that they believe in me to entrust the outcome of such an important decision of theirs; a decision that impacts so many events in their lives. Exercising their right for school of choice epitomizes their care and concern for their child's education; my responsibility to our mission begins there.

What makes you an innovative school leader?

If turning in your cell phone to the office and sharpening your pencils for your cursive lesson is innovative, then I have worked intentionally to keep Will Carleton Academy an innovative option for students, parents, and teachers for the past 23 years! Will Carleton Academy's back-to-basics focus is a refreshing change for most. Committing to academic rigor, by utilizing a curriculum that tasks students with understanding and applying the material that they are learning through Socratic lessons, direct instruction, critical thinking, intentional discussion and productive practice, has been a commitment that I have made. As the instructional leader, I have pledged to lead our school community to academic excellence and in our case, the unique, innovative option that we are is rooted in simplicity and richness of content; students arrive to campus each day to listen, work hard and be an example to others. My leadership expects that teachers teach and students learn and each is to be prepared to be their best. Will Carleton Academy is a partnership with parents and we hold each other accountable through clear expectations and steady, consistent communication.

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