Selflessness- Being part of something larger than yourself.

“Believe in something larger than yourself… get involved in the big ideas of your time.” ~ Barbara Bush

Have you ever been a part of something that was larger than yourself,  something that started with an idea and grew into something much more? This is a theme that can be seen played out many times. That feel-good story on the five o’clock news, that becomes the viral story on social media. It becomes something special when it is a teenager,  child, or children. The circumstances involved make it seem impossible to accomplish. When students (or anyone) become involved in something that is bigger than themselves, it gives them purpose and meaning. It causes us to be grateful for what we have; we become a little less selfish. Qualities we want for our children. I hope you like inspiring stories like those. I do. I get caught up reading them, especially when they involve children or teens. To have an experience that moved us so much it moves us into action. Sarah did, and what inspired her was my son. 

Sarah was bright, deep thinking and an athletic student when I met her.  A bit of a perfectionist. I am not sure if academics came easily or if she pushed herself to always do better. She worked hard in class and outside of class. Her peers should never underestimate her tenacity; she could debate with the best in class. With a big smile, caring heart, she was kind and compassionate. She was a passionate learner.

Sarah was my student at Liberty High School, in Brentwood California. I had moved to an elementary school to become a vice principal, and Sarah would often come by to visit. Sarah rides bikes, not a mountain bike, but a road bike built for speed. This young athlete would ride her bike all around the back roads and hills of our town. We would chat about her life and her next steps in her education. Sarah would ride by our home on a regular base on one of her treks. Many times she stopped in to say hello. My son, who was about three years old at the time,  looked forward to her visits. Sarah would hold him and show him her bike or put him in the seat and pretend he was racing. It was fun to watch. They had a unique bond and friendship. Sarah was concerned about Quinn and wanted to know how he was doing. You see, Quinn had cancer. He was battling A.L.L Leukemia. Diagnosed at 2 ½, Sarah was my student at the time of his diagnosis. Many of my students and families checked in and inquired about how he was doing. Sarah came to check in with him often throughout the process of diagnosis to remission and the three years of chemotherapy. 

Curly hair Quinn with Sarah on graduation day.

Sarah came by one day and told me she would be participating in a cycling event for Teams in Training, that supported the Leukemia Lymphoma Society. She wanted to ride in honor of Quinn. I was in awe. I didn’t know what to say or really understand the magnitude of what she was saying. Sarah explained that she would be fundraising and seeking sponsors for the race. She would be riding 100 miles in Georgia in May. One hundred miles! Raising money to find a cure for Leukemia. Then she asked if she could come over and have Quinn put his hand-prints on her jersey. “So when I get tired I know he is pushing me,” Sarah said. We were overwhelmed with emotion.  It was a powerful image: a little boy with Leukemia pushing a brave, strong, confident young woman. My wife and I watched with tear-filled eyes as Quinn put his hand-prints on Sarah ’s jersey. He looked up at us with a big smile on his face as he showed us his purple paint-covered hands. 

I never asked Sarah “why”? I never asked what made her think of it. I think it was within her nature to care for others.  This question from Martin Luther King Jr. fits and Sarah had an answer. 

“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?” – Martin L King

Sarah came by several times on her rides checking in with us and especially to see Quinn. Quinn was excited to hear about her “race”.  She trained for months, riding in various conditions and pushing herself. She was finding out what her body could take and how strong her mind was. She was even hit one day by a motorist, but it did not stop Sarah from training. The day before leaving for Georgia, Sarah stopped in. She went over the event with us and her schedule. We were excited for her, and Quinn was beyond excited about “Sarah’s race”. Watching her train and the regiment that she set out for herself was more than most would take on. It was inspiring. 

Sarah came home from the race and shared some of the details over the phone. We got together for dinner, and Sarah showed us pictures of her ride in Georgia. Each time I saw Quinn’s handprints on Sarah’s back in the pictures I got emotional. I was so proud of her. Cancer is overwhelming. The thought of Sarah’s sacrifice contributing to the millions needed for research is equally staggering. Like those small hands on Sarah’s back, her efforts made a difference. Quinn could never do that 100-mile race as a 3-year-old with cancer yet Sarah would not have done it without him. She became part of something larger than herself and, as a result, not only contributed to others; she contributed to her own inner strength. Imagine that, when we act upon our care for others we build up our own inner strength and our personal self-worth. 

As Sarah shared her experience with us, she very casually said: “if Quinn can endure all those shots and spinal taps over three years, I can ride my bike for 100 miles”. Wow. I was moved and touched. Quinn had no choice in his struggle against cancer. Sarah had a choice but chose to endure this challenge anyway. That’s love and putting others first. 

After three years of Chemo Quinn was finished with treatment and in remission. He is in college today and celebrating 19 years of being cancer-free (July 2019). Sarah went on to college. Today she is married, a mother of two girls and would it surprise you to learn that she is a nurse? Of course, it does not surprise you, right?

I love this quote, and I think this fits Sarah’s, honor, compassion, and ability to make a difference. 

 “The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

I don’t think I will ride 100 miles, but I can contribute to something that is bigger than myself. I can find a way to support my community that joins together with others to make a difference. What about you? Where can you be a part of something bigger than yourself?

With something to think about …

your friend, Chris

Fair and Equitable: When the wrong lesson was taught.

One of the significant conflicts in school and in our homes is the balance of being fair and equitable. I have often heard over the years that a student’s punishment is not enough or it was not fair. I am a firm believer that each situation is different, and we cannot always apply rules and discipline universally. Consistency is important in disciplining, but empathy plays a role too. In order for students to learn they need to understand the value in what we are teaching them or in this case why they are being disciplined; The goal is to positively change behavior it is not always about enforcing a rule.

What is fair and equitable?

What is the goal of disciplining a student or a child?

What is the outcome?

What will the impact be?

Will it change behavior?

What caused this behavior?

Is what I am seeing caused by trauma?

These are some of the questions I would ask myself when handling discipline issues. Some could not be answered or the outcome was not always predictable. Often times when the student felt safe enough to tell their story, the answers came.

It was a warm June night; the wind just started to blow. The seniors were excited. The year was 2000, and it was graduation night. I was one of the class advisors for the Class of 2000 and many of these students I had known for four years. Walking across the basketball courts, I smiled at the students, high fived and got and gave hugs. The energy was building as we prepared to walk out to the field. Tears were already starting for some. Graduation! Such a surreal and traditional event. Years of school, classes, projects, all coming together in one night. The year 2000 made it that much more special.

I was talking to a group of boys, laughing, giving exuberant hugs. Doug, a muscular “wakeboarding” senior, had just set me down from a hug, he was emotional and trying not to show it. His friend had just died recently from a tragic accident out of state. It was an endearing moment from a young man who was a mix of emotions.  “Doug, come here,” I heard as I turned to look as I was walking away. The interim principal had walked up and wanted to talk to Doug about his cap. She proceeded to tell him to take off the symbol he had attached to it. The rule was caps and gowns could not be “decorated.” I had no time to react. Doug started yelling, he was swearing, he was mad. I quickly stood between him and the principal, and I asked him to breathe and assured him “it will be okay.” At that point, she proceeds to tell him he had a choice to follow the rules and remove the cap or not walk. Doug tried to explain it was his friend’s symbol, his brand, it represented everything about him. I began to negotiate, but my efforts fell on deaf ears. She pulled me away and told me it was a “teaching moment.” That it was necessary to enforce the rules. Doug pointed to every student whose cap was decorated. I looked at her and repeated what Doug had said. “Are you going to have all of them change their caps?” She repeated it was a “teaching moment” and that I needed to support the rules. I simply said, “all you taught Doug was you don’t care and rules are more important than his loss.” She said something else and my frustrations filled my ears instead. I then said, “I don’t know what your goal is here, but you have other students to talk to,” as I pointed at some student body officers with decorated caps.
   Doug, still upset, got back in line, and we walked to the field. Speeches were given, and diplomas were handed out. Later that night he came over to me hugged me and thanked me for not letting him punch the principal. I apologized to him and told him that I was sorry. What else could I say or do? It was an ethical dilemma for me. This person was my boss, and I thought the rule was pointless. I valued Doug, and I agreed with him. I also think he put his friend’s symbol back on his cap when she couldn’t see him or get to him.

“Stop being a critic and be a light; don’t be a judge, be a model. I think we are far too critical. I think the best way to correct behavior is to accentuate and affirm positive behavior and to ignore negative behavior. Generally speaking, there is a time to correct, of course; but my biggest advice would be,  Affirm your child.”  Sean Covey

Sean Covey is right, there is a time for correction. Graduation tonight was not that night. Doug’s pain needed to be affirmed, and consoled. Honoring someone’s feeling and showing empathy, not apathy, that’s what Doug needed that night. Sometimes you have to ask why do we have this rule? Why is it in place, who is it supporting? If it is not keeping kids safe or supporting their academics, then why do we have it? Is it equitable or is it targeting someone, not something? These are questions I find myself repeating in my current role. What behavior were we trying to change?

There was a teaching moment, but it was missed. Doug wanted to honor his friend. What he was taught was only some are allowed to break a rule. He learned those in power can exercise their power over someone else. Nothing on the cap was indecent, rude, or derogatory. At that moment I was reminded of stopping and listening to hear both sides of the story. I often told students in my office as a principal, “I will always hear you out.” An assumption was made that night that Doug was breaking a rule simply to be breaking it. That night I saw what he was doing as connecting a significant event in his life with a friendship that meant a great deal to him. I saw Doug recently, he is a police officer; he picked me up and gave me a giant hug as we reunited (I had just set off the alarm to my school). I find great irony in the fact that Doug is a police officer today enforcing rules and the interim principal today…. I have no idea. 🙂

With something to think about…..

Your Friend Chris

Life experience and balance.

Finding balance as a high school student can be difficult — then life hits and priorities change.

I am always struck by students who are so committed to their education, or academic progress, that they are willing to make a tremendous personal sacrifice, of time and energy. They are incredibly focused. Maybe you were you like that in school? I was just happy to have friends in class and to pass my classes. Really!

High school students came through my doors and some gave their best and others gave a little. Dedicated to academics, sports, and other activities requires a high level of commitment and passion. Tenacity, courage, grit — all great qualities to have as a Marine, a boxer or a student in high school. These are not qualities taught in schools; they come to us through events, situations, tragedies. All of which are very personal experiences.

It is through experiences that we are forged— they shape us. We have a choice to allow those experiences to define us or teach us and guide us. Students that can endure taking on studies, sports and a myriad of activities bear a lot of weight. It is a delicate balance. I often question that balance and struggle with what we ask of our students. That balance presents itself differently for different students. I saw students take on multiple AP classes, sports, leadership, band, and other college application-building activities, only to have the parent ask me —“aren’t they doing too much?” My answer was often, “yes.” I also saw students balance a heavy academic load and work part-time jobs. That balance can tip sometimes and priorities can get out of balance.

We all want children to be successful in life. The qualities that make people successful are often not learned by completing an assignment. Finishing the task, completing the journey and working towards the college degree is of higher value than the degree itself, in my opinion. The journey getting there, the bumps, the missteps, the enduring of an unexpected tragedy, they have a higher value than any assignment I ever gave.

If I were to pull all the stories together from my US History Advanced Placement classes and provide a common theme to them, it would be — going the extra mile, and raising up to expectations. It was an exceptional group of learners that year; they looked out for each other, they studied together, they laughed together and supported each other.

Genny had a smile that was larger than life itself. She was involved in nearly everything she could be: leadership, basketball, volleyball, advanced placement classes, just to name a few. She worked hard, and I don’t think it was ever easy for her, but it was apparent she was learning. She was determined to succeed in all she did.

She reminds me of this quote from the editor of the Saturday Evening Post, George Lorimer, when he said — “you’ve got to get up every morning with determination if you’re going to go to bed with satisfaction.”

I have no doubt on most nights she was tired.

It was May and the day of the USAP exam when Genny walked into my room. — “O my gosh Calabrese! I am so nervous.” She was talking fast, and I was trying to keep up. I could see she was nervous, pale, maybe even sweating. She said she had stayed up late studying. Sleep and rest help a brain to function more than the last bits of information from staying up late studying. As she talked, she mentioned not feeling well. I responded, “Genny you do not look well.” Knowing her mom was a nurse I asked her,  “Does your mom know you don’t feel well?” She passed it off as being nervous. She then said her side hurt. I began to ask more questions as I pushed more than normal because something was just not right. Genny was not herself. I remember telling her, “let’s go to the office and let’s see if we can get your temperature and call your mom.” Genny protested “but the AP exam, I cannot miss it.” I answered, “Really? You are more important than a test.” Together we walked up to the office.

Genny was admitted to a hospital that day having emergency surgery within an hour of arriving. My wife and I went to visit her the next day. She was surprised to see us, and we were grateful to see how well she was doing. Genny had a blockage that was resolved through surgery. She was disappointed she missed the test. I was relieved she was okay.

Looking at the situation from Genny’s perspective at the time, I could understand why she would be disappointed—all that work, studying, writing essays and taking tests. She didn’t have a chance to prove to herself and to others that she could do it. I agree with all of these reasons; however, now looking back on it, Genny learned perseverance. Her health was far more critical then the test and the skills learned in the class were still valuable. Unexpected events come out of nowhere, and they can knock us off our feet. It is during the storm that we show our courage and resiliency not when the wind is calm. Genny showed incredible resilience and courage. She recovered and was back at school. Her spirit was not broken, but her priorities did seem to change. Life was more precious to her and understandably so. Assignments were still important; however, Genny seemed to put herself and her relationships first. As they should be.

I wonder now how Genny sees it now?

Here is Genny’s side of the story:

Applying for colleges, playing varsity sports, leadership activities, part-time jobs, and AP classes were the focus of my junior year. The pressure was on as my friends and I floated ideas about where we wanted to go to college and what we wanted to major in. It was a year I faced personal challenges both academically and physically, and a year that forced me to grow up faster than I could have ever imagined.

Mr. Calabrese was easily the coolest teacher on campus. (this is a total exaggeration on Genny’s part) Everyone knew him, everyone loved him, and everyone wanted to be in his classes. When the opportunity presented itself to be in his USAP class junior year, it was an easy decision. I wish I could say I based my decision to be in this college-prep class because of my desire to excel in US history, but let’s be honest. A guaranteed class with my favorite teacher and a bunch of my friends…I didn’t even hesitate. Mr. Calabrese is fun, loves to tell stories, and is easy to talk to which could only mean this class would be a piece of cake, right? Boy was I wrong!

I remember the first day of class, Mr. C stood in front of the class and explained what we were all about to endure. This was a college course that will require hours of nightly homework, note taking, weekly exams, and an incredible amount of hard work. There would be no special accommodations made for those who have outside obligations; leadership responsibilities, sporting engagements, other AP classes, or anything else that may interfere with succeeding in his class. His goal was to help us to pass the test at the end of the year, but it was up to us to put in the work. I was never one to shy away from hard work, so I was up for the challenge.

For the first time, I was forced to learn how to prioritize. There were times I missed out on things with friends because I had a test the next day or sacrificed sleep because I had to work or had a game and had to read the assignment before the next day. As hard as it was, I knew I challenged myself to take this college-prep course and was warned that it wasn’t going to be easy, so I did what I needed to, to succeed. It was this class, that truly taught me life skills that I use today. I learned time management, perseverance, and goal setting. Unfortunately, I never got the chance to take that exam at the end of all of my hard work, but the lessons I learned from my experience in this class was priceless.

As Mr. Calabrese mentioned, on the day of the big test I was not myself. I remember sitting in his class on a beautiful day, shivering, becoming confused, and with a fever high enough to scare the office staff. I was sent to the emergency room and was in the operating room having surgery within the hour. I spent the next 10 days in the hospital and missed the test. Ironically, this experience in the hospital is what solidified my desire to become a nurse. I guess it is true, everything happens for a reason. It seems as if I wasn’t meant to take that test after all. Mr. and Mrs. Calabrese came to see me in the hospital and it was then that I realized these special people would become lifelong friends. The purpose of having Mr. Calabrese in my life was not about how much he could teach me about history or how to pass a test, it was how he showed me that life is about balance.

A couple of years after this momentous year in high school, I entered college at San Diego State University with the goal of becoming a nurse. I was faced with challenges that made my transition to college extremely difficult. I was desperately homesick, school was hard, I had bills to pay, and the nursing program was impacted, so my chances of getting accepted were slim if my grades weren’t excellent. Talk about pressure! But, I dug down deep and remembered the lessons I learned from Mr. Calabrese and my experience in that AP class. I prioritized my time so that I could study nightly, balanced my class load so that I didn’t have too many hard classes at a time, and constantly reminded myself that I was there to become a nurse and refused to let anything stop me from reaching my goal. I was accepted into the nursing program, graduated, moved back to Brentwood, and love every second of my job.

I will never forget a conversation Mr. C and I had one day. He told me that he admired me because he could see that things didn’t necessarily come easy for me, but the reason that I did well in school was that I had a great work ethic and I never gave up. This was eye-opening for me because I never realized that someone could tell how hard I worked to do well in school, sports, and social activities. I took this with me as I went to college and through nursing school. Now, instead of sports, leadership, AP classes, and part-time jobs, I juggle the workload of being a mom, wife, and Oncology Nurse. I constantly strive for that balance in life, and I can honestly say that I am always a work in progress, which I am ok with.

I often think about how lucky I am to have had such wonderful teachers at Liberty High. I will forever be grateful for Mr. Calabrese and his encouragement, support, and friendship as he is one of the most influential people in my life. I also had the pleasure of having Mrs. Snover for several years while in high school and I will never forget her sweet, kind, and gentle manner. She had the word “Integrity” on her wall and she taught us all how to live our lives as honest people and to always do the right thing when no one was watching. Her words, stories, and lessons stayed with me long after high school. I hope that my children have the same experience I did with teachers who touch their lives in such a powerful way as Mr. Calabrese and Mrs. Snover did with me.

Persistence and resilience only come from having been given a chance to work through difficult problems. – Gever Tulley

With something to think about…

Your friend Chris… and Genny too!

Can you teach Maturity? — It’s Elementary my dear Watson or is it?

Maturity: Being able to stick with a job until it is finished. Be able to bear an injustice without having to get even. Be able to carry money without spending it. Do your duty without being supervised.”

—Ann Landers

I have had the honor of being taught by some fantastic children. You read it right. They taught me. Students can teach valuable lessons. They come from different perspectives and experiences. At times I met children who showed a maturity that is beyond their years.

It is difficult to teach maturity directly. We can support its growth in and out of the classroom; however, maturity has to be modeled by others — at home, in schools, the basketball court, friend groups, at church, and on playgrounds— in order to be successfully duplicated. Some strategies can be used to improve maturity and compliment modeling maturity such as giving children regular jobs to do or taking care of a pet. Letting a child make mistakes and learn from them and then reflecting on those mistakes helps a child to problem solve and learn.

Teaching responsibility is closely tied to developing maturity. Giving children tasks that teach responsibility aids in the development of maturity. In addition, we can directly teach emotional regulation, such as what to do when angry, hurt, or rejected and how to control those feelings and not let them take over. Like maturity, emotional regulation can be modeled. Reflecting with a child or role-playing reinforces this concept. Emotional regulation is a critical factor in living a happier life.

A British study found the following: “So-called non-cognitive skills — attributes like self-restraint, persistence, and self-awareness — might actually be better predictors of a person’s life trajectory than standard academic measures. A 2011 study using data collected on 17,000 British infants followed over 50 years found that a child’s level of mental well-being correlated strongly with future success. Similar studies have found that kids who develop these skills are not only more likely to do well at work but also to have longer marriages and to suffer less from depression and anxiety. Some evidence even shows that they will be physically healthier”. —The New York Times Magazine September 11th, 2013.

New York Times Magazine Article

Emotional regulation —the key to a happier more successful life? Not something we hear every day is it? One way to speed up maturity is to have children work and play with more mature children. The truth is that showing maturity is not always consistent in every aspect of a child’s day. A student showing maturity during one task may not be as mature doing something else, at least that is what I say to my wife when I am being immature. All you can do is model maturity. Children need to see it in action so they can then emulate it. I am not saying immature children come from immature parents, well not always anyway. With maturity comes responsibility and vice versa; they go hand in hand. Empathy and compassion also teach maturity and come from being mature. It’s a circle.

When I saw two boys with maturity and compassion beyond their years, I took notice. Girls typically mature earlier than boys emotionally, socially and intellectually. The Watson brothers came to school so full of compassion for others; it was beautiful to see it played out every day. Justin’s and Jesse’s daily routine was to check in with me, their teachers, and friends. On any given day they asked me —“how was your day?” —“how was your morning?” —“how was your drive to work?” They were always genuinely interested. They offered to help with whatever a staff member was doing. They helped others around the school; finding a lost item, helping a hurt friend up to the office. They cared. They showed gratitude to those around them and even thanked others for allowing them to help. Gratitude is a sign of maturity. It was not attention seeking at all; they truly cared. Albeit to some, Justin’s and Jesse’s offers seemed awkward at times; in their heart, they just wanted to help.

The Watson family

After meeting the boy’s parents, it was clear where the foundation had been laid. Mom and Dad had high expectations of their boys, but they had also fostered caring traits, which in turn promoted maturity beyond their years. Justin and Jesse also had a strong character, instilled by their parents and played out daily. That is where their genuine concern and care for others came from. The boys saw maturity, compassion and caring modeled every day for them and in turn, they showed it to others.

The Watson brothers and I at back to school night.

I don’t recall the boys ever getting into trouble at school. I am sure they made mistakes as all kids do! I can remember one time on the playground where Jesse was physically upset. With a ball in his hand, he ran over to get me. Someone accused him of not sharing the ball. Upon further questioning, that was not really the case. Jesse held onto the ball because the accuser was not letting someone else play. The accuser had told Jesse’s friend he was out of the four square game for missing the ball.

Jesse was indignant that his friend was being treated unfairly,  the person was not out, and they had the right to play. So when Jesse could not resolve the conflict with words, he just held onto the ball which turned into a sort of keep away. I tried not to smile as the students revealed what happened. Jesse’s firm moral conviction would not allow his friend to be tossed to the wayside of the playground. Jesse was upset and he felt it was unfair, but his maturity showed when he merely took the ball and went to find help. He did not have the skills yet to solve the problem alone entirely. He knew enough to seek help and show self-restraint. Jesse’s decision was based on his character; he had a strong sense of right and wrong. He was also passionate enough about the issue to not cave. He stood his ground.

We resolved the conflict, no one got hurt. The game started back up. Fairness won. Jesse went home that day, still bothered by the incident. He talked to his parents about it. Justin, his big brother, gave him advice and encouraged him. Justin was always looking out for his brother. Justin often put others first, another sign of maturity. He reassured him he would keep an eye on them. Justin in his own words pointed out to his brother that conflicts will happen, and that people treat each other that way because they were treated that way. Jesse’s second-grade world changed that day.

The blog is about maturity, but sometimes you have to take a goofy picture with students!

These two boys have touched many lives with their acts of caring. What struck me the most was Jesse was thinking of others. Second graders are usually self-centered and in time they mature and grow. Jesse was showing humanity and care for someone else. Justin and Jesse modeled maturity to those around them; they modeled it for me, too.

Maturity comes from more than time and age alone. When parents ask me about retaining their child to keep them in the same grade because of a lack of maturity may sound sensible the reality is that they will not have the role models to encourage maturity. In fact, classmates are often six months to a year younger. I have seen retention slow the maturity process and revert a child’s social and emotional growth. Maturity is modeled by peers and adults, and it cannot be taught in isolation. For the Watson brothers, maturity was modeled for them by educators and their parents. Justin’s and Jesse’s key to maturity growth was due to — high expectations, actively teaching them responsibility, self-restraint, persistence, self-awareness, and caring for others — together this created an environment for growth.

Justin’s high school graduation

With something to think about…

your friend Chris

For more on maturity check out—Tim Elmore’s article on “The Marks of Maturity.” This is an excellent article on teaching children maturity. He also discusses children today are exposed to more sooner without the maturity to handle it.

The journey begins

Do you enjoy a good story? I do. I love telling stories, and I love a good story — especially those that teach me; that have a moral or a universal truth, that inspire. I set out on this journey to share the experiences and stories that I have had the privilege of being a part of. For the past twenty-five years, I have been a high school teacher, vice principal, and an elementary school principal. The students who came through my classroom doors or walked the halls of the schools I served, taught me more than I could ever teach them.

My hope is you will find value in what you read. A life lesson a reminder that as parents and educators we are, and can make a difference.  These stories are about resiliency, leadership, compassion, friendship, kindness, struggle, hope, gratitude, and going the extra mile. Thank you to all my students for taking me on this journey. I have many stories from working with children, these are just a few who stand out.  Thank you, for going on this new adventure with me.

The story below is where it started for me as an educator. Did I know in 5th grade that I would become a teacher, a vice principal, eventually a principal? No, not at all. I was going to be an electrician. Along the way, my direction changed and I found myself in a classroom. Really, every teacher I had taught me how to care for kids. This story is where the journey began for me. It is where I learned relationship is more important than a lesson and caring for each other has a greater impact than a homework assignment.

Thank you for joining me on this journey.