Laura Boyd retired from school administration, but she didn’t leave education.
As a retired principal and current coordinator of Parents as Teachers for Bolivar R-1 School District, Boyd reads to third graders and listens as they read to her, manages the food pantry at Bolivar High School and supervises Care to Learn’s backpack food program for elementary students.
“It is my firm belief that we have a responsibility to give back to the community that has given us so many benefits,” Boyd says.
When she was in charge of 80 teachers and staff members, Boyd recognized the challenges of making everyone feel like an important piece of the whole. She encouraged teachers to think creatively and included staff members on committees.
“I asked them to create a professional development plan each year that was designed to foster growth for them as an individual teacher with a specific skill set,” Boyd says. “We took time to reflect on our strengths and areas we wished to strengthen. I always made it a point to create my plan first and shared my goals with the staff prior to asking them to create theirs.”
Working in administration taught her the importance of servant leadership.
“I strived to be that kind of leader each and every day. It was my belief that I would never ask someone to do something I wouldn’t or couldn’t do myself, and I frequently jumped in to mop a floor, wipe down a sticky cafeteria table or entertain students lined up in the hallway.”
Boyd sought to always support the gifts of teachers and believes they are called to their profession. After 34 years of being an educator, she says it is the only thing that can explain the dedication and commitment that she has seen displayed every day by those working with children in the classroom.
“I also believe teachers are themselves leaders who need opportunities to shine, and it is our job as administrators to provide those opportunities,” she says.
During her 16 years in administration, Boyd coached five people as they moved from teaching to leading. All five are still principals.
Being selected as the K-12 Administrator of the Year by the Missouri State Teachers Association in 2013 is Boyd’s proudest professional accomplishment. On the civic side, she is most proud of bringing Care to Learn to Bolivar schools.
“We have met the needs of thousands of students over the last eight years, many of whom would not have attended school without the clothing, food, medications or eyeglasses provided by Care to Learn,” she says.
Diana Leslie has seen firsthand Boyd’s leadership in Care to Learn.
“Laura is a visible force in our community with an amazing energy that engages people,” says Leslie, former director of the Bolivar Area Chamber of Commerce. “She has the ability to pull people together and work towards a common goal.”