A local newspaper reporter asked to interview me after hearing that I was leaving superintendent work to re-direct my energies in other pursuits. He pitched the expected questions having to do with my motivations for the decision and my plans for the future.
But then, he stumped me. He asked for me to identify three and only three accomplishments that I thought notable from my service as superintendent of Guthrie Common School District over the last six years. Hmmm. I was bumfuzzled because I don't at all think of OUR accomplishments as my accomplishments. I told him I could identify some very worthy undertakings we had engaged in as a professional team and as a school community, but that I felt that I only played a small role in the process. I view myself as only one player on a rather remarkable team.
Furthermore, I prefer to use the word undertakings because the word accomplishment suggests that something is completed or finished. Our collective undertakings are but works in progress, nothing near completion.
With those qualifiers, three things loom large in my mind as significant undertakings WE are engaged in at Guthrie CSD:
- We are deliberately fostering a Culture of Learning, that centers on students, what they know, what they can do, how they think, and how they behave. Our culture frees teachers from the pathology of standardized madness, and gives them the autonomy to teach well, teach deeply, and teach ways of thinking/behaving (none of which can be measured by standardized tests).
- We developed the Guthrie Graduate Profile to codify what we value and what we aspire for our children as they spend 13 years moving through the Guthrie CSD version of "schooling."
- We have embarked on a journey of Holistic Wellness, for our students, for our school staff, and for our community. That wellness-centric focus encompasses the physical, intellectual, and spiritual/emotional health of our entire community.