Making the Leap

I’m making the leap.

After six years of wonderful classroom teaching, I’m heading to the other side of the staff meeting table.  Last Thursday, I was board-approved a new elementary principal.  Following a spring of applications, resumes, first and second round interviews, report card-memorizing, demographic internalizing, filling up gas tanks, and spending half of each paycheck taking suits to the local dry cleaners…I’m happy just to have landed the opportunity!  The icing on the cake, however, is how much of a fit I think it’s going to be!  I’m excited to get started!

So where to start?

I’ve met with my [former my new position] new superintendent several times.  It’s going to be a great working relationship, and he has done an outstanding job of documenting and archiving his yearly work.  My kitchen table is covered with an array of his binders, folders, and paperwork.

I’ve met a few staff members already – those in on my interviews and several of the district-level staff.  I’ll meet several more next week.  One of my early charges is the obligatory “Welcome to a Great Year!” letter for the front of the student handbook.  Since it has to get to the printers soon, Siri threw it on my ‘ASAP List’.

But before I begin that, I need to take a deep breath.  The last few weeks have been lightning-fast with little time to just pause and reflect.

I’ve spent several years working on my grad school and licensure stuff…all helping me to define the administrator I want to be.  Now I need to bring it all together.  I asked my fifth graders last year to create “This I Believe” projects, defining and explaining their core values about school, friends, family, and most of all, themselves.  “Go and do likewise,” says the whisper on my right shoulder.

So this afternoon I’ll take my pink lemonade Crystal Light, the iPad, and a blanket, and enjoy some time reflecting and preparing…deciding what really is important to me about my job, who I am, and who I want to be.

Stay tuned.



Last night was our open house for my new fifth grade class.  It went really well!  The kids have a lot of energy, their parents seem very supportive of the kids, and I’m really….really…looking forward to a great year!

As is typical with open houses, parents often want to give you a heads up on things they think the teacher should know.  “He really struggles with reading,” they say, standing in front of the child.  I usually want to reply, “Well if he didn’t before, he will now!”  I understand where they’re coming from and recognize that they’re just trying to do what they think is best for the child.

Teachers do it, too.  Each year, as I send on the kids that I’ve invested so much in, I always want to talk to their new teachers and explain what works…and what doesn’t.

But what about the fresh start?

How much information is too much information?

Exit reports and informal conversations are all aimed at providing a student with future success.  But like I said, that’s their aim.  Is that really what they achieve?  Or are they really assigning undue bagagge to an unsuspecting student hoping to turn over a fresh leaf?

Is there an answer?  What does your school do?