For the past 18 months, I have had a bit of survivor’s guilt. After 28 years of serving in public schools, the last 10 as a superintendent, I left school district work to serve at TASA in 2018. In the best of times, being a superintendent is barely sustainable, though the intrinsic rewards are remarkable. Since March 2020, “sustainable” is not a word I would use to describe your job.
I have felt enormous empathy and appreciation for those in public schools who have endured COVID-19, multiple hurricanes, Snowmageddon, and the divisions that have percolated down from national and state politics into local communities.
Texas educators and administrators have been nothing short of heroic during this challenging time, going far beyond the normal expectations of their jobs as they put their own lives on the line to help our children and communities get through a historically challenging time.
In my opinion, you should get 10 years of TRS credit for the past year and half served, and have the initials ILdC (“I led during COVID”) added after your name in perpetuity (kinda like a PhD). I’m only half-joking.
Many of our state and national leaders have a lot to learn from school leaders and educators. Each day, you show up to work and you serve everyone. Regardless of ability, race, political affiliation, religion, gender, etc., you welcome all and serve all. Instead of finding issues that divide a community, you try to unite them around doing the very best for children. You practice good governance, great leadership, wise stewardship and accountability to your entire community. You build positive, personal relationships. You build community.
Rather than blame others, or pit half of your students and staff against the other half, you dig in to solve real problems that make a difference in your community. That doesn’t mean everyone loves every decision you make (an impossibility the past 18 months), but it does mean that you lead with a servant heart through a selfless mission. You know it ain’t about you.
No doubt, it hasn’t been a perfect year; and, no doubt, you have questioned your own leadership, asking yourself, “Why am I doing this?” So, let me say emphatically that our students need you, our communities need you, our country needs you. And for whatever it is worth, millions of us admire and give thanks for you.
I will pray that our nation is deserving of you, and more leaders like you.
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