Raise Her Up is the creative brainchild of Dr. Debra Lane, an international educator, school leader, and change-maker. In 2019, Debra attended a well-known international educators' conference and realized that the vast majority of the leaders and decision-makers were men. Despite the obvious need for equity and the evidence that clearly pointed to women being every bit as compentent as their male counterparts, change has been a slow, painstaking process.
Brought together by their common interests, Kimberly Cullen joined Dr. Lane on this project to give voice to the experiences of women leaders at k-12 schools around the world. The book brings together the stories of ten different women, all of whom have served as leaders on various levels in the world of international education, and identifies some of the common challenges that these women have had to overcome along the way.
Raise Her Up explores themes like vulnerability, authenticity, self-awareness, boundaries, self-care, persistence, resilience, relationships, imposter syndrome, and courage, and offers a range of personal and developmment exercises designed to help women and their male allies identify and overcome some of the barriers to equality in school leadership.
When educators consider the role they play in society, they must accept that they are responsible for ensuring that the generations to come create and contribute to a world that is socially responsible, equitable, and cares about inclusion and diversity. As such, educators need to be the first to harness potential, open doors, and create opportunities for everyone, independent of the things that make us different.
Aleasha Morris worked in education for many years as a teacher, counselor and leader. She is an edupreneur with her own consulting and coaching firm. She supports a range of schools and organizations with leadership and team development. Her most recent position in a school was that of School Counselor at the Singapore American School.
Aleasha’s story talks about the challenge of navigating externally imposed definitions of success and having to reframe and redefine success for herself.
Debra Lane is a veteran educator who has worked and led in both public and private schools in the US and internationally. Currently, Debbie is a consultant whose doctoral work on bullying prevention has helped transform school culture in many schools and districts.
Debbie’s story speaks of resilience and courage.
Elsa Donohue is the Head of School at Vientiane International School in Laos. Originally from Venezuela, she had lived and led in 9 different countries.
Elsa's story addresses leading through crisis and some of the big themes that come out are commitment and empowerment.
Francesa Mulazzi has taught and led around the world - Morocco, Shanghai, Singapore, Aruba, Lusaka, and now Washington State, where she is the Head of Upper School at St. George’s School.
Francesca's story is a vivid message about the importance of self-care.
Kate McKenna has a doctorate in Education Leadership. Her academic background is in English Literature and Counseling. She is currently the High School Principal at International School Nido de Aguilas in Santiago, Chile.
Kate’s story highlights some of the big challenges that came out for her as a woman through the interview process as she was being considered for leadership positions.
Kimberly Cullen has served in international k12 education across a variety of roles from teacher and counselor to dean of students and secondary director. Most recently, Kim was the Upper School Director at the American School of Madrid, and is currently on sabbatical, serving educators and school leaders as a professional coach and consultant.
Kim’s story talks about imposter syndrome what really makes a leader.
Maya Nelson is the Deputy Head of School at the Jakarta International School. She has worked in both public and private schools in the US and around the world, and she is also a consultant, auditor and presenter. She is one of the leaders of the Women of Influence in Education movement/facebook group.
Maya’s story highlights both persistence and timing.
Michelle Kuhns is an educational consultant and leadership coach who has led and taught in the United States, Asia, Europe and the Middle East. Prior to consulting, Michelle’s most recent school-based position was that of Director of Learning at the American School of Dubai.
Michelle’s story speaks to the challenges of taking control of one’s own life and destiny, and having to learn to be the first to recognize one’s own worth.
Pauline O’Brien comes to education from outside of the “traditional” pathway. She worked in the corporate world for many years in management and consulting before she joined the Council of International Schools (CIS) as their Director of Career/Recruitment services. She is now the Director of Administrative and Governance Services for International School Services (ISS).
Pauline’s story speaks to the importance of building relationships and she has been a true trailblazer in this regard.
Suzette Julien has been an educator and leader in the US and abroad for over 25 years. She is the Elementary Principal at the Ínterntional School of Port of Spain in Trinidad and Tobago. Her doctoral thesis explored the topic: How leaders who are women of color make sense of their professional and personal experiences in K-12 international schools.
Suzette’s story looks at defying limits and leading with heart.