It's a new year!
Many people have asked how year one went and if I am ready for year two to begin. Year one, much like parenting, was challenging but extremely rewarding. Being in education for fourteen years in a few different roles provided me with a lot of background knowledge stepping into this position. However, with every new place and new role, there was a learning curve. Some days the curve was a rolling hill and other days as steep as the face of a cliff. It reminds me so much of parenting--the daily tasks are sometimes overwhelming. (I barely finish cleaning up from dinner and someone wants me to make a snack. Please. Stop.) But once in a while, your kid will stop what they are doing, crawl on your lap, and say "I love you mom" for no reason at all. All those loads of laundry and fighting about what shoes to wear (not the black boots, it's SUMMER) are forgotten. It feels worth it.
Being a principal is a lot like that. There are mundane tasks and paperwork and meetings that are awfully boring. There is decision-making that is unpopular with someone no matter how right it is for the school or students. But there is also the payoff--the students. Their success, their experiences, their growth. The personalized "thank you" regarding Entrepreneurship class from a graduate. The unsolicited hellos and stories from the student-athletes in the building (and sweaty hugs from the girls soccer team...thanks). The meetings with ambitious student government officers about activities for this year (these meetings are delightful compared to the ones I mentioned earlier)
So going into year two, I reflected--would I rather be blissfully unaware of what was waiting for me throughout 17-18 like I was last August, or if I would rather be me now...anxious for the things that could go right and wrong and hoping the changes I decided on would have a positive effect? So a week before my students arrive, I have to decide to let my faith be bigger than my fear.
I have faith that this year is going to be great. Faith is the confidence what we hope for and assurance of what we do not see. I, with my staff, have reflected on the past year and tried to make the necessary changes that will simplify, clarify, or improve our daily operations. Collaborating with faculty and educational consultants, our course offerings are updated to be relevant and engaging. Thanks to our generous donors, we have amazing additions to the school including a band room, classroom technology tools, and updated security cameras. New staff members are joining our team and some current staff members are getting expanded or different roles.
Making changes is not without fear. "The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry" (and I learned this from helping some seniors with a Scottish poem assignment that still haunts me). The fear of failure is good--it keeps us accountable for our decisions as long as it isn't crippling. Our students should be allowed to fail, pick themselves up, and try again. I always tell my teachers to not be afraid to fail in trying out a new lesson. If it's bad, come back tomorrow and try something else. There can be no progress without failure. (See: Thomas Edison).
So as I continue to serve the Kennedy family, I am going to paraphrase the words from George Washington's farewell address to the nation: I am human and I make mistakes. I hope any errors are viewed with kindness in knowing that I am making decisions at Kennedy so we continue to be the very best choice for your child's education and development as a well-rounded, articulate young adult that is prepared for the world when they leave us. I have confidence in our preparation, assurance that our hearts are in the right place, and faith that our labor will be fruitful. Thank you for your continued support, well-wishes, and keep us all in your prayers as we enter 2018-19 school year. May each year be better than the year before.
With all sincerity,