“Those who move forward with a happy spirit will find that things always work out.”
At last night’s BOE meeting, the Board acted on Dr. Hughes’s recommendation to name me the Assistant Superintendent. Following the action, Dr. Hughes submitted his resignation for the end of the business day Friday, December 15th and the Board followed with appointing me acting Superintendent until such time a permanent Superintendent is appointed in the near future.
To say the least, significant changes occurred last night. As acting Superintendent, I first need to say that I am honored to serve all of you and the special community that we live in. I don’t want any of us to take the word “special” lightly. My experience over the years living in the valley has taught me that our community cares about people; it cares about our children; and we all want a better tomorrow for our children and will do what it takes to make that happen.
Our community stands for love, which is the most powerful emotion on this earth. As we band together with a common interest and goal, synergy amongst all of us will be formed and our goals and vision for the district will glide along like the Mohawk River that gently flows by us every day.
Each day, we see wonderful things happening around us. We need to capture those moments and take them in and appreciate them. That is what makes us human and lets us truly understand people. By understanding our neighbor, and having empathy for our neighbor, and caring for our neighbor, we become emotionally attached. Once we all become emotionally attached, we fight for what is right. We stand behind each other and support each other, because we care for one another. We band together during tough times and we celebrate together during the good times. We push each other to do better and we do not settle. In the end, there is no opt-out. Our goal will be for all of us to row down the Mohawk in the same direction and to be proud of who we are as Central Valley.
I am not interested in being mediocre and I know that most people don’t wake up saying “I can’t wait to be mediocre today!” I feel that most people wake up dreaming to be something special. We want our lives to count. We want to leave a legacy that we can be proud of and to teach our children the importance of character, hard work, perseverance, and effort. We want our children to have grit and to be able to stand up for what they believe in and to not be taken advantage of in life. We want our children to love, to be sensitive, to care for one another, to be proud, and to be educated. We ultimately want our children to be good people.
In the next few weeks, we will need to band together through the transitions that will occur. Answers will not come quickly enough, but it will not be for a lack of trying. I am a very methodical thinker and will work with my colleagues to transition us as smoothly as possible. Our goal together will always be to find solutions. I am not the Wizard of Oz who is all knowing, nor will I pretend to be. I will use the brains and insight of all who are in the room to solve problems. I will take time to listen to all of you and to get to know all of you. Although I know many of you, there are some who I will need to take the time to know. The relationships that I will attempt to form are important to me and critical for our district as we move forward. Without relationships, nothing is possible. Therefore, it will be a priority for me because it has always been my priority.
We are in the people business. We will treat each other with respect and at times agree to disagree, but will do it respectfully. We will challenge each other’s thinking, because that is how we will grow. We will not blame, because that takes no thinking and zero self-discipline. Instead, we will be self-disciplined and find solutions to the problems that we see that need to be fixed. When we complain, we are dissing ourselves, especially when we hold the ability to change what we are complaining about. As we move forward and recognize things that need to be changed, our goal will be to simply create the change that is needed.
We also want to be known for doing things well. As we create ideas, we need to give twice as much thought to implementation. Anyone can have great ideas, however, very few can implement well. We will have great ideas and we will implement well, otherwise we waste people’s time and we waste resources. Our goal will be to build sustainable systems that operate and function like poetry in motion. Poetry in motion is when it looks so easy, people think anyone could do it. The reality, though, is that Poetry in Motion is a well-thought-out plan that took careful thought to produce with a lot of hard work and dedication to make it happen. We will do a few things well and then move on. We will not try to do too many things at once, which results in nothing being done well. Again, we will strive to be known as a district that does things well and not haphazardly.
Communication will be extremely important. When communication breaks down, the system fails. Communication takes work, but it will be expected and needed to allow us to function properly. There will certainly be breakdowns at times, but we will strive to limit the breakdowns.
We will then slowly become an extended family that shares a similar passion. Our jobs are hard. You don’t need me to tell you that. Our jobs are special as well. We serve children. I will repeat that – We SERVE children. The greatest creation on earth is a child. As a result, we will treat children as the gift that they are to all of us. In the words of Sitting Bull, “We will put our minds together and see what life we can make for our children.”
In closing, Central Valley is moving forward. We will all play a part in our future. Again, from this point, there is no opt-out. I need all of you. We have tough work ahead of us, but we have good people. Good people who are motivated can make things happen. Good people can create Poetry in Motion – and that is the plan.
The first steps will be to put someone in place at Barringer Road and to clearly define the roles of the administrators. As things start to move, I will communicate what is happening. I will also be moving around in all the buildings, first introducing myself to those I don’t know. It is important for me to put a face with the names. I will begin working on relationships with faculty, staff, and the community as a top priority. We will continue our work educating our children, but that is the obvious. The first few weeks will be rebooting and creating a mindset that we are going to do great things and it is going to take all of us to accomplish our mission.
If you take one thing away from what I wrote, remember this:
“Warriors are not what you think of as warriors. The warrior is not someone who fights, because no one has the right to take another life. The warrior, for us, is one who sacrifices himself for the good of others. His/her task is to take care of the elderly, the defenseless, those who cannot provide for themselves, and above all, the CHILDREN, the future of humanity.” – Sitting Bull
I look forward to our future together. I will work hard for all of you and will do my best every day. I will put forth my best effort and will look to learn from all of you. I will take responsibility for leading our district and we will rise ever higher. Thank you for this opportunity. I am excited to start our next chapter together. Chins up, keep smiling, and let your neighbor know that you have their back.