Today we have an amazing interview, featuring Elisha Mccardell!
Today we have an amazing interview, featuring Elisha Mccardell! Elisha is currently a Principal In Residence at a flourishing charter school in Texas. She opens up about where she’s been, where she is, and where she’s going.
How was it growing up with five siblings?
It was very adventurous. Being the only girl for a time, I had the privilege of honing my tomboy skills. I ignored dolls and cooking, and instead climbed trees and made sure I was the best “girl-boy” there was. My oldest brothers became my idols. When the younger siblings came along things changed. I had a little sister who would follow me around, which often became annoying. As we got older the best part was having people who had your back. I rarely fought because of my siblings.
How old were you when had your first child and what has motherhood taught you?
I was 20 when I had my first child. I was a sophomore in college and had just returned to Houston from Prairie View A&M. I wasn’t really focused then. With my first child I had a lot of support from his dad’s family, so it was easier for me to work and go to school. It put a strain on my relationship with my oldest child, which is why to this day he prefers his dad’s side. With my second child, who came a year later, I was able to quit working and became a full-time student.
Motherhood has taught me to be selfless. I was always the type of person who was very giving, but when you are giving to people who are not your children you have a choice to continue or not continue. When you have children you don’t have a choice. You have to be what they need. I believe my children are the main factors for me being this far in my career and in life. I had to become “serious” when it came to goals and future plans. It was not, and still is not easy. If I had that magic wand that turned times I would have waited.
Why is education so important to you?
Education is the only thing that can’t be taken from you. Education for me is the catalyst that creates the future we want to see. We can go through any area stricken with poverty and identify the correlation that exists between a lack of education and a lack of economic abilities. I knew that education was my way out of the life I found myself in. I wasn’t rich, so I knew that the only thing I could control was my progress in school and how much I knew.
People see you different when you have a couple of degrees behind your name. Life is different for you also. Education creates exposure to people and places you may not have the opportunity to experience otherwise. When I speak of education it is not limited to academics. Life can create knowledge that isn’t found in a book.
Did you face any struggles growing up? How did you overcome them or how are you dealing with those struggles?
I asked a friend once, “Why does it seem that love is never on my side?” His reply was, “because you can’t control it.” I realized that things that I have immediate control over, I flourish in. Things that I can’t control, I am more apprehensive and struggle with. Love being one of those things. In the beginning, my love struggles were a direct result of me not loving myself. I grew up with questions that were failed to be answered by those women and men around me, so life became my teacher. With that comes the boys and men that take advantage of an insecure young girl.
As I got older, and even married, those same struggles became my clothing. I did not learn to love myself until I was in my mid-twenties. It took a failed marriage and a true awakening to change that. The struggles evolved from a lack of love of self to a strong distrust of others. This is an area I am still struggling in. When you experience life in love as I have, you become guarded because you no longer want to experience any pain associated with giving yourself to another.
What are your current and future goals?
I am currently a Principal In Residence at a flourishing charter school in Texas. My goal has always been to lead my own school by the time I turn 40. I am on track with that goal. I also want to become very active in the community. I want to equip people in poverty-stricken areas with the skills and knowledge to change their own destinies. I have been providing academic support to children for 11 years now. I want to expand my horizon and have a greater impact on all ages.
Thank you so much for sharing your truth! We are sure many people were inspired today. To learn more about Elisha, visit her on Facebook @ Elisha Mccardell.