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Driven by a mission to serve others

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On June 20, The Network for Springfield’s Young Professionals hosted the latest edition of their CEO series, featuring Dr. Grenita Lathan, Superintendent of Springfield Public Schools (SPS).

Interviewed by 2022 Network Chair, Dee King, Dr. Lathan talked about her first year living and working in the Springfield community. She also shared more about the professional journey that brought her to the region. At one point, King asked Dr. Lathan to identify her favorite thing about living in Springfield. “This is truly a collaborative community,” she said. “It’s different how we hold each other accountable for our deliverables in a way that makes ourselves and our community better.”

Early in her career, Dr. Lathan set herself apart by not focusing on the job title. She believes this helped put her on a path to a rewarding and successful career. “I stayed focused on the work and took each job seriously,” Dr. Lathan said.

She continually emphasized the influence of her personal mission - it drives the work she does each day. “I’ve been called to serve, not only children, but people,” Dr. Lathan said. She added that a personal mentor of hers reminds her to always do the right thing. “The bottom line is to never worry about a job when it involves doing what is right for children.”

When asked about the future of the SPS district, Dr. Lathan highlighted several goals for the 2022-2023 school year, including universal screening for all students throughout the year to develop individualized growth plans. “It’s not punitive. It’s to help our education leaders grow, and to be transparent about the data,” Dr. Lathan explained.

As she wrapped up the conversation with Network members, Dr. Lathan challenged young professionals to get involved. “Even if your kids don’t go to SPS, but you work in Springfield, get involved,” she said. “We are at a time in our country and our community that we need to be involved and we must seek to understand.”

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