A New Chapter
There are a ton of phrases and variations of the analogy of life being like a book we write and different parts of our lives make up the various chapters. For those who don’t know me well or my story allow me to quickly give you a brief rundown. I grew up wanting to become a teacher. In high school I found a new interest in physical therapy and initially set out in college to pursue that. My mom, an educator, put me to work as free labor (most teacher kids know all too well about this) and volunteering found me and quickly snapped me into reality of teaching is my calling. Since I was 19 years old I have been writing chapters of my life working in schools. Diving into principalship was similar to my start as an educator, not exactly what I had set out to do but the cards I was dealt led me to my first principal job in a school that I didn’t apply to work at but someone saw something in me and put me in the hot seat and I took on the challenge. I would then go on to lead another school after that and eventually it would lead to my most recent chapter.
Four and a half years ago I was chosen to be the leader of Marie Hughes Elementary in Albuquerque. Over the years of being the proud principal of the Husky Pack, anyone who ever heard me describe my school heard me describe it as a “Goldilocks School”... there was a little bit of this and a little bit of that but all together it was just right. It was big but not too big. There was a lot of diversity in SES with a wide range of wealth, poverty and homelessness. Just a huge range of everything in that school but it was just right. Over these last four and a half years we rebuilt culture, redefined our brand, mission and vision. We moved kids academically. We grew our educators. We grew our programs. We hugely focused on brain friendly teaching and social emotional learning. We navigated a global pandemic closing buildings but not school as we pivoted over and over and reinvented education. My time as the lead learner of MHES saw me through personal life changes. I got married, lost my father, battled anxiety and depression just to name a few. I have learned and grown so much as an educator and as a person. There were some hairy parts but overall, I wouldn’t trade a single minute of that journey. Like all good things though, eventually an end comes. On April 1 my team pondered an emergency staff meeting I called as to whether it was real or an attempt at an April Fool’s joke. I shared with my staff that in that meeting that my chapter at Marie Hughes was coming to a close and I would soon be embarking on writing a new chapter in my life.
Since I was 19 years old I have dedicated my life to public service and serving in school communities. Through my career I have uncovered my strengths and passions and created new goals and dreams along the way. Professional development was one of each of those things for me. My favorite part of being a principal has been to grow and support educators. To do PD full time is a goal and dream that many educators have and was something I have for some time now dreamed would become my day to day. And now, I am so lucky because an opportunity knocked on my door for me to make that dream my reality as on April 18 I will get to spend my days training, coaching and supporting educators full time as a Professional Development Specialist with Curriculum Associates.
I must admit, it was quite a journey in itself going through the interview process. It’s for something new and different than I have ever done before. I have never been a “fidelity to curriculum guy” so I went through all of the emotions and wonders and a lot to process in going to work for a curriculum based company and to no longer spend my days surrounded by kids and leading a school. It’s scary and nerve-wracking. But it is equally exciting to be diving into the deep end and taking this new adventure on as I write this next chapter. And I am just as ecstatic to take you along and share this journey and next chapter with those who choose to follow it.
Here’s to my next chapter!