Shila Wheeler and Her Role as an Operations Specialist

Story by cnmAdmin2030 / January 22, 2020

At Meeting Street Schools, we believe in providing an environment that supports educators. Each of our campuses are supplemented with an operations team who work endlessly to make sure their administrators, teachers, and school are taken care of on a day-to-day basis. One of the roles on our operations teams is the operations specialist. From planning school events to running social media pages to keeping parents up to date on the latest happenings, operations specialists make it happen so our educators can focus on developing our scholars. But what else does their role entail? Whether you are considering a role with MSS or are just curious about our model, you can hear from Operations Specialist extraordinaire for Meeting Street Elementary @ Burns, Shila Wheeler, on her role, experience, and journey to MSS in the interview below.

Where did you grow up?

I grew up in Worcester, Massachusetts. I am 100% a city girl, so moving down here to Charleston was quite the adjustment but I absolutely love it here. The neighborhood I grew up in is considered “low-income”; however, I never saw it as anything but a community filled with hard-working people trying to build a better future for their families. I attended the same school from elementary all the way through to high school. In the third grade, our school transformed into a technology-based charter school that totally changed the dynamic of the neighborhood for the better. I see so many positive parallels between the amazing school I went to and Meeting Street Schools.

Where did you attend college?

I attended Suffolk University in Boston, Massachusetts. Boston is such a fabulous place to pursue higher education. There are 35 colleges and universities in the Boston area alone. I felt like no matter where I went in the city, I was surrounded by a community of my peers all trying to grow our hearts and brains.

How long have you been working as the Operations Specialist at MSE@Burns?

I am a few months shy of a year here at Meeting Street Elementary at Burns. From day one, I felt like a part of the team and was truly able to dive headfirst into my position.

What role does an Operations Specialist play at a school campus?

The role of an operations specialist differs from campus to campus based on the specific needs of the school. Overall, we exist to make sure our teachers and staff have the tools they need to be successful in growing our kiddo’s brains. We wear many hats and whether we are planning an event, or ensuring that safety and security procedures are followed to a T throughout our school, we do it all with our mission in mind.

What skills are required in your position on a day-to-day basis?

Organization, communication, and a “whatever it takes” attitude are crucial skills for an operations specialist. The latter skill flows through everything that we do here. Day-to-day your tasks change and things pop up so you have to make sure you address every challenge with positivity and a growth mindset.

Can someone without experience working in education be successful in this role? Do you have to have a background in the education field to be an operations specialist at a school?

I don’t believe you necessarily need a background in education to be successful in this role, but rather an unwavering belief in the educational success of our kiddos. We are not all meant to be teachers, so it is great that MSS has created roles such as operations specialists where we can be a part of the education process. For the past four years, I have worked for non-profits whose goals are to close the opportunity gap for students in underserved communities. So, joining the MSE@Burns team was a natural move for me. It’s such an honor to work here.

Tell me about the parts of your role that you find most challenging.

Because our role is somewhat behind the scenes and not kid-facing, you can sometimes find yourself in the daze of office life. However, when that does happen, you can take a walk down the hallways of your school, peek into the classrooms, and remind yourself of why you do what you do.

Tell me about the parts of your role that you find most enjoyable.

I love that everything we do ties back into our mission of making sure that students receive the best education possible and the tools they need to succeed. There is a task I do every morning that may seem minor but has such an impact on my day. During arrival, I hold a door open and greet kiddos with a smile and high five as they enter the building. There is always a student or two who are super tired or not having the best morning. It is amazing that just greeting them with positivity and warmth can be a catalyst in helping them readjust their mindset and get on the right track for the day.

What are your goals for the new year?

My goals for the new year are to continue to learn and grow within my role, face every challenge with grit, and practice extreme gratitude each and every day.

What advice do you have for those considering a role in school operations?

I would say make sure the passion for educational equity exists within you. Having a high level of organization and communication is super important but you need that fuel, that passion to keep the spark going.

Sound like the position for you? Apply today! 

 

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About Meeting Street Schools

Meeting Street Schools (MSS) is an innovative non-profit where schools, families, and the community collaborate to create environments where all children can achieve their full potential. With a network of schools across South Carolina, including MSA-Charleston (Charleston, SC), MSA-Spartanburg (Spartanburg, SC), MS-Brentwood (North Charleston, SC), MS-Burns (North Charleston, SC), and MS-Jasper & Beaufort (Jasper, SC), we are committed to providing students with the rigorous education they deserve.

Founded on the principle that every child deserves an excellent education regardless of their socio-economic background, Meeting Street Schools has been a beacon of hope and a testament to what's possible in education. Our schools are driven by a strong focus on student achievement, evidence-based instruction, and relentless support of our students and their families.

While united by our shared mission, each MSS campus, is unique in its character, tapping into the local spirit of the communities they serve. Explore each of our schools and discover how they're creating a brighter future for students in South Carolina.

News & NotesFrom Clemson University to Master Teacher and Player Coach: Emily Godwin

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Our Schools

MSA – CharlestonDowntown Charleston, SC - Independent School - Since 2008 - 364 Students

Nestled in the heart of Charleston, South Carolina, MSA Charleston is more than just a school—it’s a hub for innovative learning and community engagement. As part of the Meeting Street Schools network, MSA Charleston embodies a commitment to excellence through its rigorous academic programs, inclusive culture, and focus on developing the whole child. With a curriculum that emphasizes both academic and personal growth, MSA Charleston prepares students to be curious learners and active citizens of their community.

MSA – SpartanburgDowntown Spartanburg, SC - Public School - Since 2012 - 323 Students

MSA Spartanburg stands as a pillar of educational innovation in the Spartanburg community. The school’s dedicated educators and supportive learning environment ensure that each child receives a high-quality, personalized education with exceptional faculty and teachers. MSA Spartanburg is distinguished by its emphasis on community partnership, fostering relationships that extend beyond the classroom to build a strong foundation for lifelong learning and success.

MS – BrentwoodNorth Charleston, SC - Public School - Since 2014 - 694 Students

MS Brentwood is a place where education meets opportunity. Serving the Brentwood area, this school is a testament to the transformative power of education. With a student-centered approach that celebrates diversity and encourages excellence, MS Brentwood is dedicated to equipping students with the skills they need to thrive in the 21st century. MS Brentwood also serves as a hub for the Brentwood community to access educational and wellness services. The school’s commitment to innovation, coupled with a warm, welcoming environment, makes it a standout in the MSS network.

MS – BurnsNorth Charleston, SC - Public School - Since 2018 - 478 Students

Located in a community rich with history and culture, MS Burns is renowned for its dynamic educational approach that intertwines traditional learning with modern teaching techniques. The school’s focus on experiential learning ensures that students at MS Burns are not only recipients of knowledge but also active participants in their educational journey. MS Burns exists to spark an educational revolution for the students and families in the Dorchester-Waylyn Neighborhood in North Charleston. With a commitment to creating a supportive and challenging academic environment, MS Burns is forging a new path in public education.

MS – Jasper & BeaufortJasper County, SC - Public Charter School - Fall 2023 -

MS Jasper represents the Meeting Street Schools’ dedication to community-based education with a global perspective. The school provides a nurturing environment where students are encouraged to explore their potential and cultivate a love for learning. With its diverse programs such as Eureka Math, and Wit and Wisdom, MS Jasper puts a major emphasis on character development, specialized learning and equips students to become thoughtful, engaged members of society, reflecting the MSS ethos of empowerment through education.

CommunityVoices

  • 1/3

“MSA is a family. Once you’re in, you’re in. They said they would follow our kids from K-3 to college and they actually lived up to what they said they would do. Not only did MSA challenge my daughter academically but it also exposed her to new things that she probably wouldn’t have been exposed to at our previous neighborhood school. Our journey at MSA was exciting and rewarding. They actually walk the walk.”

— Tyeka GrantParent

  • 2/3

“We come into work everyday truly believing that our students are capable of achieving anything that is put in front of them. Here at MSS, students are provided the opportunity to achieve success through the facilitation of well-educated teachers, resources, and a responsive classroom school environment.”

— NikToshia GilesTeacher

  • 3/3

“Meeting Street Academy is my family. They taught me that I am valuable. I am an asset to the world…They asked me, ‘What is your dream?’ I had never been asked that before. The MSS community gives me the strength to pursue my dreams.”

— Kadelyn SteedStudent