It’s hard to believe that 2018 is almost over, but the end of each year presents the perfect opportunity for reflection. This year has been full of change and growth for me and my family, and as I reflect on the decision to move back home to Chesapeake to become your superintendent, I can’t help but be grateful for their love and support through the process.
I’ve also had time to reflect on what coming back home to be a part of the Chesapeake Public Schools family again has meant to me. Before school started in August, I challenged our administrators to focus on their “why” and keep it at the forefront of the, often difficult, decisions they make every day. In issuing the challenge, I hoped to inspire educators across the division to remember why they chose education as their passion and purpose, but what I did not expect is for students to catch on to the message too.
At Great Bridge High School, the SCA recently presented me with their t-shirt identifying service as their why, and at Butts Road Intermediate School, teachers and support staff filled a book with personal messages explaining why they do what they do every day. I’m inspired by their sense of purpose and hope to use it as we move forward in crafting our vision for the future of Chesapeake Public Schools.
My why for being in education, from my first year teaching fifth grade at Crestwood Intermediate, to my position in Assessment and Accountability, and now as superintendent, has always been to focus on what’s best for our students. As I wrapped up my visits to all 47 schools and centers this week, everywhere I went I saw reminders that I am not alone in that belief. At my last stop to Butts Roads Primary on Tuesday, that “why” was on full display as I had the chance to walk through their Learning Garden. What a great space for students to play and learn!
I’m so proud of the work I’ve seen at every school I’ve visited. I can see how much our students are cared for in the present, but also how much our teachers and staff are preparing them for the future; a future that seems to arrive faster than we imagine. I was reminded of that fact this week at Tidewater Community College.
On the same day I wrapped up my school visits, I was honored to give the Keynote Address at TCC’s Fall Commencement Ceremony. I wouldn’t be surprised if many of our former CPS graduates were in the audience as I shared how much my time at TCC shaped my path, and just like I issued the challenge to administrators earlier this year, in my remarks, I encouraged the graduates to focus on their purpose – on finding their why.
I look forward to what 2019 will bring to those graduates, to our division, and to you and your families. From our Chesapeake Public Schools family to yours, Happy Holidays!