By Juliet Becker, Staff Writer
// At the fifth meeting of Acalanes High School’s Women in Leadership series on March 18, Associate Superintendent of Educational Services Aida Glimme shared her experiences and challenges as a woman in education, spanning from her childhood to her current life.
In her early childhood, Glimme lived in Yugoslavia, where she explained gender roles and equality were different from those in America.
“When I grew up as a little girl, boys and girls in schools were very equal. There was no such thing as ‘girls are not good at math’, and ‘boys do this’ and ‘girls do this’. [Everything was] for everybody,” Glimme said at the meeting.
When several Yugoslav Wars broke out in the early 1990s, she escaped with her mother and little brother at age 14. At the time, Glimme’s father already lived in the U.S., and she obtained a three-month visa to live with him. However, her mother and her brother could not acquire visas and remained in Europe. Only a few weeks after moving to San Mateo, she started school at Hillsdale High School without knowing any English.
Throughout her schooling, Glimme learned that she was passionate about teaching, so she began teaching at Monte Vista High School in Danville after graduating from college. Later, she became the principal at Acalanes and is now the Associate Superintendent of Educational Services for the Acalanes Union High School District.
Many attendees found Glimme’s story to be intriguing and inspirational.
“The most inspiring thing that I took away from Glimme was her perseverance because she has been through so much in her life and, even when things got super tough, she kept fighting,” sophomore Sierra Lashinsky said.
In addition to her journey to the U.S., Glimme faced several challenges as a woman in the workplace.
“When I was a teacher, I have to be honest, I just didn’t think about [misogyny]. I’m very aware of it right now, but when I was younger, I was still living kind of in this weird, ‘why would anybody treat me differently?’” Glimme said.
Glimme emphasized that these roadblocks were especially apparent when superintendent recruiters scouted her for higher administrative positions.
“There are people that actually go and work to recruit [people] for a superintendent job. Those are retired superintendents, which tend to be white males. They tend to recruit the people that look just like them,” Glimme said.
Overall, attendees found Glimme’s experience in the workplace interesting and learned from her journey.
“I did learn a lot about being a woman in leadership, and I learned that it’s not always going to be equal and fair and there are little differences that you might face in the workplace” Lashinksy said. “I also learned the importance of supporting other females in the workplace and calling out sexism when you hear it, so this growing problem can be recognized as unacceptable in the workplace.”