This school year has certainly gone by quickly, and I always look forward to sending my “last day of school messages” to all of our stakeholders. I have been extremely blessed to be the superintendent for 15 years, so it is with mixed emotions that I craft this message for the ‘last’ time.
I hope the next few days are the beginning of a restful, relaxing and fun summer that all of you so deserve. The school year is fun but I know that all of those activities take a toll on our students, our staff and our families. Summer is a great time for some restorative mental, emotional and physical self-care and for FUN with family and friends.
I will begin a new chapter, effective July 31, as I retire after 41 years in public education. I started as a substitute teacher right out of college in 1980. I could not get a job, and subbing was my only avenue to teach. Finally, I was hired at an alternative school to teach in 1982. I fell in love with this career choice and never looked back. In addition to teaching social studies and English, among many other courses (just as most of you have done), I also coached and later became an assistant principal and a principal. I have enjoyed all of it. While I will definitely miss the day-to-day interactions with staff and with students, I will not miss the immense responsibility of securing the safety of all of us. Our world has changed in so many ways, and the job of Superintendent has changed rapidly in just the past five years. While I am sad to leave, I know that this is the right decision for my family and myself.
But know that I am taking every memory, every relationship and all of your support with me as my retirement ‘gifts.’ I am so incredibly proud of all that we have accomplished together and the resilience we have shown in the face of almost constant adversity since October of 2018. Your faithfulness, your willing spirit and our commitment to our children led us out of the darkest days following Hurricane Michael’s devastation. We enabled our community to get to work rebuilding when we reopened our schools, and we all managed to keep our children focused throughout absolute chaos.
And then our educators were a beacon of hope during the crazy days of the pandemic. We ensured children didn’t get lost in the system; we ensured all students had access to continued learning, food and books. WE kept them believing that there was light at the end of the tunnel.
We did that even in the face of the ‘political finger pointing’ that never seems to end, but keeps us in the ‘crosshairs’!
I leave this position not as young or as energized as I was when I began, but more than ever convinced that public education is a calling and not just a job. Some of us call it the ‘Lord’s Work,’ but whatever you call it, we can’t do it alone. And, all of us know that our children are worth it and need us more now than ever, if they are to have a chance in our crazy world.
Despite the divisive headlines, social media posts and soundbites surrounding us, I know the future is bright for our children because of public education, the amazing people who work at BDS and the entire community that supports us in that work.
I plan to continue to teach Sunday School, and do volunteer work with local non-profits. I look forward to spending much more time with my wife, my children and all of my grandchildren, and I plan to be a regular fixture in the bleachers and at the auditoriums as they play and perform.
In closing, I am a proud product of public education and the men and women who invested in me when I was a child, and I know you are doing the same for countless children in our community. I am honored to have worked with all of you for as long as I have. Please know that I genuinely appreciate the love and compassion you have for our children. You may never know how important you are to them, but let there be no doubt… your love provides them hope. Hope and love are critical to anyone’s success, so please keep doing what you’re doing to take care of our most precious gifts… our children and grandchildren. Thank you for all you do to make them successful.
“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” —Nelson Mandela.
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