Sharp Takes On Stanford


Adriana Feijoo, Centerspread & Business Editor

Margaret Sharp, math teacher, has what many would consider as exciting plans for next year. After spending the summer teaching children in Ghana, Sharp will be heading to California to attend graduate school at Stanford University for one year.


Q: What made you want to continue your education?

A:”I felt like I got to a place in my career where I needed to learn more to feel like I could be more effective at what I wanted to really accomplish. I am really interested in issues of equity, access and how to make schools work better for all kinds of students, regardless of socioeconomic status and things like that. As a teacher, you obviously make a huge impact on kids, but I wanted to start thinking big picture-like– what ways I could impact schools, as opposed to my own classroom.”


Q: What degree are you planning on majoring in at Stanford?

A: “I will be studying at the Stanford School of Education in the program called Policy, Organization and Leadership Studies. My focus there is going to be in K-12 education arena.”


Q: What other graduate schools did you apply to?

A: “I also applied to Harvard, Vermont, Washington University, Vanderbilt and Colorado. I got accepted to all of them.”


Q: What made you choose Stanford?

A: It’s weird when you have all of those options. It was hard at first, but I think deep down Stanford was always the one I wanted. When I wrote my statement of purpose, I wrote it for Stanford. I spent probably a month on it. It was always Stanford; that was always my focus. I think a lot that comes from the fact that I know Stanford is doing innovative stuff with education. I also liked the Stanford program; it is more of a community feeling. It’s a small cohort of people who are working together to tackle heavy important issues in education.”


Q: What are your plans after finishing your graduate education?

A: My plan is to come back to Mundelein. I am taking just a year off. The plan is to get the degree. I’ll finish with a master’s degree and then come back into my math teaching position. My position won’t change, but I think I’ll definitely be equipped with a lot more knowledge to be more able to help impact bigger-picture decisions, problems or questions that arise in the school.”


Q: What is your ideal job?

A: “I am absolutely positive that when I leave this program I will be teaching in a school for a significant amount of years after. I don’t in any way feel ready to leave teaching. For me, I want to teach. I love teaching. I feel like I am doing what I love, so it isn’t like I am seeking this degree to go out and do something different. I just got to a point in my career where I needed to become better in some way. I am the kind of person who loves to go out and learn new things. For now, teaching is totally enough for me. I love it, and I want to keep doing it.”