I spent some time this morning reflecting on the 2017-18 school year. My twentieth year in education. My fifteenth year as a school leader. My fourth year as the principal of the amazing Quincy Elementary. The year I became an author. What a beautiful journey, and I wonder who learned more in those twenty years…students or me?
This year has been a year of learning about myself, about the staff I serve, and about our students. We started the year with a presentation by Dr. Stephanie Grant about being trauma-informed educators. That presentation lit a fire in many staff at Quincy Elementary that has translated into reading books, attending as many training sessions as we could, lots of discussion, watching films, and a certification program to become a “Certified Trauma-Informed Practitioner in Education”.
In the end, being trauma-informed means looking at students and staff with a different lens. A more sensitive lens. I learned that being trauma-sensitive is actually being people-sensitive. And I love people. They fascinate me, they inspire me, they make me laugh so hard that I snort, they make me cry. And, they make me want to be a better person everyday. So, why in the world wouldn’t I want to handle them with care? And, maybe in the process I am handling myself with more care too.
I wrote and published my first book this year, thanks to the support of Dave and Shelley Burgess. This ride has been full of excitement, and self-doubt, and thrill, and learning, and nervousness. I am so lucky that I got to write a book that is basically my whole heart poured into the pages. I wrote the stories and lessons that I need to remind myself every day. And, now I get to have conversations with the people all over the world about The Path to Serendipity. Such an amazing blessing.
I am beginning a new journey to publish my first picture book, which is a retelling of the sixteenth century tale of The Three Princes of Serendip. In this tale, we learn the origin of the word serendipity. I take full advantage of artistic freedom in my rendering of the tale. It is a sweet, lyrical, inspiring, and whimsical story with beautiful illustrations to match. And, Quincy students not only inspired this book, but they have been giving me feedback all along the process. What an incredible experience to share together!
Quincy Elementary is a place where staff and students can make dreams come true and I have absolutely loved spending another wonderful year with the Q-Crew. If you want them to make you smile in the same way they make me smile every day, check out some of these videos:
All in all, this school year was a year of growth, learning, and continuing to work on my servant heart as an educational leader. I am not amazing yet, but I will never give up my quest to be what everyone deserves me to be.
Success is a journey, not a destination. The doing is often more important than the outcome.