About this time each year, I take some time to reflect; my view is around the school year since my career focuses on K-12 education. I struggled with the title of this blog including the term "pride". I remember sitting in church, listening to preachers toss it around like it was the fastest way to a hot place. I wanted to focus on the word pride since the term identifies the amount of transition happening both personally and professionally in my life. Webster’s Dictionary lists two definitions for the word pride — and two that could not be more opposing. The first is “inordinate self-esteem/ conceit.” The second? “A reasonable or justifiable self-respect.”
It turns out that pride does come in two characteristics. One can give you the impulse and courage to become the best variant of yourself. This type of authentic pride comes from hard work and is the variant we will use in this post. Next, I will share some areas I am proud of this year, starting with my kids.
If you were to ask me 22 years ago that I would be married with three children, I would say you are crazy. Today, I am happily married nearly 22 years, and this month my middle child graduates high school. Our family environment doesn't come without some hard work on everyone's part. My daughters have worked through the transition of moving to a new state and took on a tremendous amount of life change.
Last week, Aiyana completed the Lincoln Half Marathon with me even after going to prom the night before. In a couple of weeks, she will graduate from Omaha Central High School. She has worked so hard at what she wants to become. She persevered through a back injury that could have been devastating to her volleyball contributions. She worked through them and won the Varsity Female Player of the Season her junior year. After she graduates, she will continue at Metro Community College with a full scholarship. One thing I have learned with my kids, what we get right and what we get wrong does not ultimately determine who our children become. Our children’s futures aren’t wholly dependent on our ability to perfectly orchestrate their lives.
I have now been in education for 19 years. Time flies. If I were to highlight the person that has influenced me most over the years, one person stands out.
Leadership plays a vital role in education. This year will be my 13th year working for Mark Evans. Mark brings so much to the table as far as leadership. He understands that a leader develops the talent around himself. One thing that defines Mark is his desire to "do what's best for students"; this is his brand, and if you spend even five minutes with him, you will hear this phrase. Mark is approachable and able to hold a conversation with any staff member without intimidating them. He has transformed any district he has led. By far, no one has taught me more about leadership than him. What we have done in Omaha Public Schools is a direct reflection of the leadership he has brought. You will still see his fingerprint in the district from the initiatives and leadership he has brought to Omaha Public Schools. Here are some points of pride district wide we have seen through his leadership lens. These highlight items since the 2016-17 school year and do not reflect many of our accomplishments as a district during the 2017-18 school year.
Center for Digtial Education Large District Summit:
These posts are personal. They are not reflective of the Omaha Public Schools District.