The Sky's The Limit
Dr. Nancy Cantor shares her advice for young girls
By Brianna Suslovic
Scholastic Kids Press Corps
Scholastic Kids Press Corps
"You can do a lot if you collaborate with others," Cantor said. "Nothing is ever easy, but [you have to] keep at it."
Cantor was raised in New York City's Upper West Side neighborhood. Some of her greatest life lessons, she said, were learned at an early age. This was thanks to the influence of some important people in her lifeher parents and her dance teacher.
According to Cantor, books and movies also helped shape the way she looked at things. Some of her favorites are Fried Green Tomatoes (a movie set during the civil rights movement) and anything written by Virginia Woolf.
Since those early years, Cantor has come a long way. She has been Chancellor and President at Syracuse University since 2002. Today, it is her responsibility to improve the school's many programs and to make sure that the university remains well-connected to the town of Syracuse. Cantor proudly calls her school the "Soul of Syracuse."
Most days, Cantor is in her office by 6:30 a.m. There is no such thing as a "typical day" for her. She can often be found connecting people and ideas together and working to get the funding for projects she supports. Evening events at the university mean she is sometimes handling school business long after most people have left their jobs for the day.
Cantor is very focused on ensuring equality for everyone and providing educational services for her students, she said. She has won many awards throughout her life. Her favorite ones, though, are the scholarly awards that relate to her current position.
So what does she have to say to girls thinking about what their future holds? The key, according to Cantor, is to think Big.
"The sky's the limit!" she said.
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Amy Cagle is the director of personnel for the Randolph County Schools in North Carolina. Throughout her career, Cagle has held many leadership positions in the public school system. She currently helps guide teachers in her school system as they work to reach and maintain higher classroom standards. Cagle recently took time out of her schedule to talk with Scholastic News Online about women in leadership positions.
Scholastic News: Why is celebrating Women's History Month important?
Amy Cagle: I think women have done great things throughout history, so this is an opportunity where we can reflect on the many accomplishments and strides women have made. I believe that we should celebrate these accomplishments and appreciate the gains we have made.
SN: Did you always know that you were interested in education?
Cagle: As a child I certainly enjoyed school. I went to college and studied Child Development and Family Relations. I began teaching after graduating from college; I became an assistant principal, then a principal. In 1999, I moved to the central office and was given charge of personnel. So yes, I have always known that I was interested in and would be involved with education in some way.
SN: What do you think women bring to leadership positions?
Cagle: I think women make excellent leaders. They can combine emotions such as compassion, caring, and thoughtfulness [to help them] understand and focus on people while in leadership positions. Women have much to offer our society, and that should be recognized.
SN: What challenges do you think women face in leadership positions?
Cagle: Balancing family and career is an important issue for [many] women on a daily basis. Wanting the best for your family and the best for a career [is challenging].
SN: How do you balance your family life and your work?
Cagle: It has been difficult at times, but you do what you have to do to accomplish your goals and get through the tough times together.
SN: How do you feel about the progress women have made in society?
Cagle: Women have come so far in many areas of our society. I feel that women are taking on roles that have typically been dominated by men. Women are leaders of corporations, school systems, in politics, and [they] even have taken very important leadership roles in churches. This is a very exciting time for women in our history and things are continuing to change in positive ways for us.
SN: When do you think a woman will run for President?
Cagle: I hope it is soon. You can see changes in leadership positions, as women [are] taking positions as CEOs and principals, so I believe it will not be long.
SN: What women have inspired you in your life?
Cagle:I have had teachers who helped me enjoy school and inspired me in [education]. I admire my grandmother because she taught me to have self-respect and self-discipline. She took care of me while my mother worked. My mother inspired me because she reinforced those traits, and she supported me in all my goals.
SN: How has being a woman affected your career?
Cagle: I think being a woman has helped my career because I have the compassion and caring that it takes to work with people. That has made an incredible difference.
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