Message from the Superintendent


May 4, 2016

Dear Colleagues:

Well, just two months left of “letters to staff” after having written 262 monthly letters J  Next month, my last, will be a message for you, about my wishes for you.  However, I thought I would use this month to simply answer the most frequently asked questions (FAQ) coming my way.

Are you counting the days?

No, not really, I keep thinking it will slow down, but it hasn’t and now the “end of the year” pace is just the same.  I suspect it won’t slow down for me until July 1.  I am just trying to make sure everything is set up properly in the district for everyone going forward.

Are you going to miss it?

Yes and no.  I will miss some of the people, the important work we do, and this sense of deep meaning and purpose in public education; and, I feel really good about the work accomplished in this career.  Still, there are aspects of this job that are very frustrating such as when you can see what needs to happen to make schools better for students, but cannot get adults to be responsible for the same.  On those days, well… who I am just doesn’t fit well with what some expect of the role of superintendent (see picture below).

Why are you retiring now?

It is a mixture of things for sure.  Over the years, I have had friends who worked in public service who were a bit older than me, but not by much.  One of them retired and then two weeks later passed away from a heart attack while fishing.  The other one was an avid runner and in great shape, but retired and had a routine surgery then three weeks later passed from related complications.  My plan has always been to do my best in my career to make a difference, stay in good enough shape to be active when I retired, and then leave soon enough that I could still do some other things in whatever time I have been gifted.  If you have ever watched that end scene in the movie Gladiator when he is finishing what he was supposed to do in the arena and can see his family on the other side of the door, that next “life” as it were, calls to me and I am just ready for that to happen.

What are you going to do next?

We have some family vacation time planned this summer and I want to rest, play, and breathe a bit as a non-superintendent before getting too serious about answering that question.  Honestly, I am simply looking forward to being able to experience and interpret normal events, more normally, such as when it snows and waking up and looking out my window and thinking, “Wow, that is beautiful!” instead of waking up to a phone call at 4:00 am to make a “snow call” and then all that follows.  I want to be able to help coach my stepsons’ (9 and 10) teams and commit to a schedule that really does put family first, rather than trying to fit family time in around my work schedule.  My two older kids (now 26 and 28) are successfully launched and have closed their accounts with the Bank of Dad, so I have some freedom to do other things.  A long time ago, I used to enjoy painting cars, motorcycles, boats, and even airplanes… so maybe I will try painting houses next J

Are you going to run for an elected office?

It’s always flattering to be asked that question, and I am usually never short of an interest in policy matters.  Still, and with respect to public education, none of the elected offices that exist in our state right now have the authority necessary to actually fix the multifaceted and complex issues that are impacting public education; thus, I can’t see myself in a role that could not bring about meaningful and lasting improvements for students, schools, and our larger community.

Are you going to stay involved in public education?

I asked the NEWS board of trustees (think McCleary vs state re: public school funding) to support another person as the President; which they did so I can step down from that role.  The transition will happen July 1, 2016.  I still care deeply about that work, but NEWS should be represented by someone still actively employed in public education.  I agreed to stay on the board of trustees with NEWS and will for sure share anything relevant and constructive in support of better school funding.   I will be supporting my stepsons with their schooling and my wife with her job in education; and always, help out as I can if asked by any colleagues.  I will keep voting “YES” in support of school measures.  Otherwise, I am looking forward to exploring different interests.

Will you still be living in the district or community?

My family has settled in a community up North in Whatcom county.  My wife and I both grew up in small towns and we have friends in that area with kids the same ages.  We want to raise the boys in a more rural setting.  I don’t hear any traffic from my house J

See you next month!





Last Modified on May 5, 2016