Jan 31 2008
Let’s Give This Another Go
Found myself writing for our school website this morning and thought, “This sounds like, looks like, and feels like a blog post” and figured I’d better get back to it here at G-Town Talks. The transition I underwent from high school principal to assistant superintendent was downright painful. Readers saw it here. My friends heard about it and those already in similar positions kept offering encouragement that I forcefully shot down. And thank goodness my boss learned to let everything I said go in one ear and out the other. (Unfortunately one of the ways I work out what’s in my head is by letting it come out of my mouth–seems to be how I think it through–I’m lucky I didn’t drive the guy nuts in the last seven months.)
And so here we are today. A graduate asked me last night at the local pizza shop, “so how do you like your new job?” and I found myself answering differently than I had over the past few months. Instead of saying, “I really want my school, my teachers, my kids back”, I heard myself answering, “It’s good; I really believe that the work I’m doing now is what’s going to make our school one of the best in Western New York.”
I do. Think that. Just didn’t realize until I said it to Kristin that I am over the “looking back, what’s happening with my high school kids, need to know everything that’s going on, let me make the decisions” part of the transition. And you know what? I’m pretty sure I went through a similar transition when I went from teacher at Pine Valley to administrator at Frontier. Maybe that’s what happens when you are fortunate enough to work in a profession where you truly love every job you have?
But think about that statement I made. What an incredibly powerful opportunity I have here to do important work. Who could ask for more than that? Of course, many of the G-Town readers said exactly that in the encouraging comments that I received when signing off in October. So I’m a bit slower than all of you.
I’ve had some incredible experiences in the past seven months and I’ve learned a lot. Most important, I’ve gone from a building perspective to a district one. I honestly see things differently, on more of a continuum, and that’s where every one of us working in a district should be. A child’s experience as she travels through our K-12 system shouldn’t be random. It should be specifically designed to give him the best possible learning experience. We have incredible teachers and administrators, including a superintendent and board of education that have taken our district and put us in an excellent financial position; so that we can do all of the things we need to do, to improve learning.
Some may say, “Well, it’s about time” but I’ve learned that things generally happen when we’re ready for them. Four years ago this district wasn’t ready, culturally or financially, to go where we’re going now. The best part is now we have a plan to get there, we know what we need to do, and every bit of research I read confirms the plan at hand. How much better can it be than that? And when I’m ready to make the next transition to retirement, I’ll know that I never took the easy way and that I made a difference for our kids in Gowanda Central Schools.
And by the way, I still have my kids, they just include every student K-12, not just 9-12, and I’m responsible in some way for every one of them.