Ann Garrido (center) facilitated a seminar on Difficult Conversations for Class 1 of the Wexner Field Fellowship (WFF) last week at  the WFF Spring Institute, which took place at the Inn at Serenbe outside Atlanta, GA.  Below is a reflection from Erica Rothblum (WFF 1) about this experience:

I have been trying to have a difficult conversation with someone for about four months.  I will spare you the entire story, but I say “trying” because there have been periods in the four months when I was avoiding the conversation and also times when I have been ineffective at having that conversation (either because I couldn’t get in touch with the other person or because our communication just wasn’t working).  However, the need for the conversation was coming to a head and after the WFF Spring Institute, I texted her and made some insane arrangements to meet early one morning.  The meeting went as well as it possibly could have, and I really attribute it to Ann Garrido’s seminar for two reasons.

First, because of Ann, I was inspired to reach out and really make this happen.  The barriers to avoiding the conversation had been taken down.

Second, I realized I could be STRONG and TOUGH and use the strategies we had been taught/reminded of in the seminar.  I started by sharing what I thought was her perception.  She offered more insight.  I took responsibility for my contribution.  I called her on hers.  She owned up to it.  I am not sure I got 100% of what I wanted, but I got about 90% of what I wanted (and I think she would say the same).

So, thank you to Ann and The Wexner Foundation – thank you for saving my own mental health.  Thank you on behalf of all of my students and families who won’t even know how this conversation made our school stronger and better.

Get To Know The Author

Wexner Field Fellow Erica Rothblum (Class 1) has been the Head of School at Pressman Academy in Los Angeles, an ECC through 8th grade Day School serving just under 500 students, since July 2014.  Before coming to Pressman, Erica worked as the Head of School at Beth Hillel Day School and before that as the General Studies Principal at Beth Hillel.  She began her career with Teach for America, teaching for three years in Compton, CA and taught at both public district schools and charter schools, as well as in the university setting, before entering Jewish education.  Erica holds a BA from Barnard College, a master’s in teaching from Loyola Marymount University, and an EdD in Educational Leadership from UCLA.  While she loves travel, reading and theater, Erica’s first passion is her family – her husband, Daniel (whom she met at Hebrew University on their Junior Year Abroad), and their three children, Maya, Jack & Nomi.