Message from the Superintendent


October 14, 2014

 

Dear Colleagues:

“The safest place for ships is in the harbor, but that’s not why ships were built”

                                                                                                     Anonymous

In public education there is a difference between just “being” our role, and the challenges at times we experience from “doing” our work.  While the substance of the issues varies a bit for each of us, the general patterns of human behavior are pretty common regardless of where we are in the system.  It seems that if or when we act with courage to do our work, there will always be those who may disagree or complain for a variety of reasons, perhaps valid and perhaps not.   A possible danger in this dynamic is that if we stop acting in positive directions in whatever role or job we have just to avoid the discomfort of possible dissent, then we reduce our vitality and compromise on the most important value we have to offer  -- our actions in our best work.

In our different and unique work we study, train, practice, and perform so as to do it well.  The students and other adults we work with, in fact our entire system and community, are enhanced in positive ways when each of us acts consistently and constructively in our assigned role.  When we are “doing” our work and not just “being” our roles, it makes a significant positive difference for others.  We are adding value.   Yes, it can be discouraging when there are voices who complain about something attributed back to us or who complain because they don’t want to see any changes that upset the “waters” in which they float.  However, quite often our actions or these changes are the very things that need to happen for the system to function, to be healthy, and to make things better for student learning.  We need to keep performing our assignments to the fullest and know we are adding value and helping to make the system function for the students and community we serve.  We should not hold back because of what others may say.

It takes courage to act with some unknowns about the outcomes and knowing we may experience resistance.  Clearly, we should celebrate success and learn from failures, for as we glean insights from the latter we grow our capacity to increase the former.  Still, there has never been advancement or improvement made in society, in education, or in any setting by doing nothing.  In each situation, positive progress always creates some healthy disruption of the status quo.  Yes, we certainly try to proactively involve those impacted by our actions and act wisely as we work; that is common sense and good practice; still, if we waited for 100% consensus even to conduct one day of school -- we would never be able to act because someone would not want to go.  So we process to the best of our ability and consider things from as many perspectives as we can, and then we act!  

Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather acting constructively in the face of fear. I applaud each of you for having the courage to do your respective jobs with enthusiasm in thoughtful and powerful ways that make us a dynamic, progressive, and positive influence on the many lives we touch in our schools.  I applaud you for not hiding your ship in the harbor and only doing what is comfortable in those times when the situation calls on you to act and when students and others need you to stand up and make something great happen.  Thank you for being fully present and doing your work.  You are the ones who make this system so special and it is upon your great work and actions that we are becoming even better.

Sincerely,

Nick

 

Last Modified on October 14, 2014