School district’s student enrollment director retires
After more than 28 years with the School District of Lee County, the student enrollment director retired on March 28 to pursue the next phase of her life, traveling and taking some time for herself.
“I am going to be 67 years old next month. I want to take some time off for myself. I raised my kids and they are grown up. It is time for Leila to play. You have to enjoy a little bit of life. We don’t know how much time we have left. I want to travel and do a few things here and there. I want to do a cruise in Europe. I would love to travel inside the United States and visit some of the states I haven’t had a chance to visit,” Leila Muvdi said.
She began in the district as a foreign language teacher for about six months before becoming a part of the opening Gateway Elementary School as a Spanish teacher when the school first opened in 1992. From there she became a pre-K teacher at Spring Creek Elementary while also pursing her master’s degree in leadership.
She decided to pursue a leadership degree, so she could impact more students.
“When you are a teacher you have 18 to 20 students. An administrator you have access to a lot of people and families. The impact was a whole lot better because I worked with principals, community members and families,” Muvdi said.
Muvdi also was an ESOL teacher, teaching English to adults at night in the early years. This was another area where she had the opportunity to help a lot of families learn the English language.
She explained that some of her students came from another country with a degree that they were not able to use in the states. Muvdi helped them learn English, which then helped them accomplish working in the area they received their degree.
“It was very rewarding to work with adults learning English,” Muvdi said.
When the district opened the school choice office, she became a school choice specialist, an assistant director and for the last 14 years a director.
Twenty-one and a half years has been spent in the student enrollment department.
“I am a people person. I love working with families and helping them,” she explained.
Although it is a challenging job, it also had many rewarding moments, as she helped families get accustomed to the area and their children registered within the school system.
“Moving to a different area and different country brings a lot of concern, issues and anxiety. Helping the families work through all those issues has been challenging and rewarding at the same time. I really enjoy my job and I like working with people and helping people,” Muvdi said.
Some of the rewarding moments have occurred when her students from pre-K kept in contact and invited her to their college graduation and weddings.
“That means I impacted their lives forever in a good way,” Muvdi said. “One child wanted me to be in his wedding. He was in my class when he was 4 years old. There is not enough money to buy those kinds of rewards in life. Reward that comes from having that feeling of satisfaction that you did something good and impacted kids forever.”
Now with retirement, she has received a ton of notes from parents sharing how she has helped their child. To impact that many lives, she said is something she will take with her forever.
The growth of the district has been huge since in the past 28 years. When she started there were 62,000 students; now there are more than 92,000.
“We have opened a lot of new schools. Population wise we are changing. There is more diversity in the district then when I started,” Muvdi said.
With the growing district there have been a lot of positive changes, some of which included new programs for the students.
“We have more opportunities, so many opportunities for the students that every year we keep on adding more and more,” Muvdi said.
One of the examples includes a mechanic automotive academy at the high schools, which prepares the students with the skills they might use after they graduate from high school.
“I tell parents that when my kids graduated from high school they didn’t have a clue what they wanted to do. If you explore that in high school you have an idea. You are going to take classes and find out whether you like it or not,” Muvdi said.
With all that she has accomplished, she leaves with feeling she could have accomplished more, especially with parents becoming more involved in their child’s education.
“We don’t have the parent involvement that we need in our schools,” Muvdi said. “We lead a life that we don’t have time for a lot of things. The parents have to be involved in their kids education. Participate and have knowledge of what is going on in the child’s life. It is very important for the growth of our kids and the benefit of our kids and benefit of our school system.”
She said she has always admired the parents who are very involved in their child’s education.