Change is an important theme in education. The demands of potential careers and expectations of society are shifting and young people need a flexible and adaptive education to best prepare them for an ambiguous future. However, change is not easy and education, like most large organizations, can be slow to change. Let's be candid, the vast majority of people, including those who write and speak about the need for transformation, are typically imploring change in others. Change requires that we alter what we are doing and, often times, routines we believe work and have grown very comfortable with. In the end, meaningful change is not something we do to others or is done to us, rather, something we experience and engage in ourselves.
After many years as principal of a school that I helped open and was immersed in, indeed, a school community that I loved, I have moved to a new school. This is the eighth school transition I have made in my career and my fourth as principal, but it does not get any easier. Despite the self-talk about "change is a good thing" and "it is another opportunity to reinvent myself", going to a new school is still daunting. Past accomplishments and relationships mean very little to the people here. Moving schools provides an awakened appreciation for beginning teachers, Grade 8 students and the kids who have just arrived from another school or a far away place - change and starting over can be unsettling.
At the same time, it is very exciting. The school I am at now is the oldest, most established school in the district and has deep roots in our community. It has a tremendous reputation for academic and extracurricular excellence and offers an incredible range of unique school and district programs for the full spectrum of learners. My first impressions are that there are many dedicated, thoughtful people here who care very much about their school.
September can be an uneasy time for kids and for teachers and support staff. The upcoming school year often brings a little anxiety and wonderment; however, it is also a new beginning and another chance to get a little better, to make new friends, new connections and to learn new things. I am excited for the opportunity to work alongside new colleagues and serve a new school community and I will strive to do my very best. I am hopeful that all staff, students and families are also looking forward to a new year, and another chance to grow, to learn more about ourselves and perhaps even choose to change a little for the better.