Tuesday, April 2, 2024

Reflections on a Career

Today I shared with our staff that I am retiring at the end of this school year.  It has been my honor to work with the faculty and staff of Homewood Middle School for the last three years.  It is a special privilege to be part of the Patriot family and any kid who lives in the 35209 zip code is lucky to experience those amazing teachers.

Writing can be a good way to process emotions.  But sometimes words fail me.  When I first thought about trying to write about my last 31 years, I was overwhelmed.  It’s not possible to adequately capture in words all of the stories, interactions, moments, and experiences that have shaped me over the course of my career. But here are a few reflections…

Kids are mostly the same.  Some kids have more resources, and some kids have more challenges, but the human desire for respect, belonging, and significance transcends demographics and socio-economic status.

Most parents love their children and want them to have the best possible education.  Parent interactions typically go better when educators are mindful of this fact.


It’s not possible to overstate how much teachers value support from their administrators.  If you lead a school, your biggest responsibility, other than student and staff safety, is supporting the teachers under your care.


All the adults in the school matter, and they all play crucial roles.  Counselors, lunchroom staff, librarians, assistant principals, SRO’s, instructional assistants, custodians, technology specialists, maintenance technicians, secretaries, bookkeepers, registrars, nurses, and central office staff – all these folks are essential to taking care of students and supporting the essential functions of teaching and learning.  It’s important not to take them for granted.


Students have big things going on outside of school… and so do the adults.  This stuff matters. 


Adults that bring good energy into the school building have a major impact on the culture of the school.  And they make the best colleagues.


Collaboration typically leads to better results.  Teachers are more effective when they plan with colleagues, and administrators are more effective when they involve others in decision making.


Work can be fun.  It’s okay to be silly sometimes, and don’t ever take yourself too seriously.


Vulnerability can be a good thing.  It allows for growth.  And it allows others to see your humanity.


I’m grateful to all of the students who listened to me, who asked me questions, who engaged with me.  I’m grateful to all the teachers who inspired me with their dedication to their craft and their commitment to their students.  I’m grateful to all the support staff who took pride in their work and contributed to an effective school environment.  I’m grateful to all my colleagues over the years who showed grace in the face of adversity, who were professional yet compassionate, who were collaborative and pleasant… who never took their focus off of students.  


I appreciate the superintendents, boards of education, and central office staff who trusted me and supported me over the years.  The vision, leadership, and behind the scenes work of these folks chart the course for our schools and make the great work possible.


I believe in public education, and I’m grateful for all the opportunities I have had to play a small role.  The vast majority of the young people in our country receive their education in these classrooms, and the future of public education must be safeguarded for the future of our country.  Any effort to divert resources from public schools is a profound mistake. 


My journey in public schools has included stops in Birmingham City, Mountain Brook, Fairfield, Tarrant, Shelby County, Vestavia Hills, Alabaster, the University of Montevallo, Pell City, and Homewood.  I appreciate all my colleagues in these districts who inspired me, supported me, and were relentless about making a difference for students.  The work is hard… but it is profoundly vital.  My hat is off to everyone still in the game.


I still have the good fortune of running into former students and colleagues from time to time.  These encounters immediately become the day’s highlight. They remind me that our work matters – that our work endures.  We don’t just teach students or lead staff; we create memories.  We impact lives.  We leave a legacy.  For many years there has been a sign in my office that reads: “I AM THE DIFFERENCE!”   That has been my goal.  It has been my hope.  It has been my passion.  I am blessed to have shared a career with so many colleagues who had that exact same passion.  So to all of my colleagues over the years… and to the thousands of students… my career – and indeed my life… has been richer because our paths have crossed.  Thank you!



3 comments:

  1. Congratulations on your retirement! It must be a bittersweet moment to leave after such a meaningful time at Homewood Middle School. Your dedication and leadership have surely made a positive impact on the faculty, staff, and students. The Patriot family is indeed special, and it's clear how much you value the amazing teachers there. Enjoy your well-deserved retirement! If you ever need help with new ventures, like maybe writing a book or needing a Pay For Thesis service for future projects, there are great resources available. Best wishes for this new chapter in your life!

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  2. Reflections on a career you will gain clarity. Enjoy your retirement such a meaningful time spent. I also had a wonderful time with the best nursing essay help company uk. They ensure you find the optimal choice for your academic needs. Let them guide you to discover the summit of excellence in nursing essay assistance. Their teamwork is incredible, they have great-quality work with the best customer support.

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  3. Reflecting on my career at Homewood Middle School, I am deeply grateful for the opportunity to have served alongside the dedicated faculty and staff over the past three years. It has been a privilege to be part of the Patriot family, contributing to the educational journey of students in the 35209 zip code. As I prepare for retirement, I look back with pride on the impact we've made together in shaping young minds. Just as I've dedicated myself to teaching and mentoring, As a teacher, I know that teaching is a very challenging and rewarding passion. I also provide online classes. I encourage future educators to embrace opportunities like Do My Online Macro Economics Class Help ensuring every student receives the support and guidance they deserve to succeed academically and beyond.

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