Dear friends and colleagues:
As I end my tenure in Tacoma, I wanted to take a moment to say thank you. These five years in Tacoma Public Schools have become a wonderful end point in my career and I need to say thanks to so many people.
This is a rich community in terms of human talent and it has been an absolute pleasure to try to seek ways to support you in your efforts to reach every student. I have witnessed some amazing people do extraordinary things for our children.
It is my hope that we have been able to advance another step along a path that would open doors for you. Tacoma is the only place in the state where the entire district is officially recognized as an innovative zone. That is only meaningful if it leads to enabling your dreams and your ideas as educators – and every employee of the district is an educator! You touch children in your work and you touch their future. If we have been successful in this innovative groundwork, it will enhance your opportunities to find solutions to the many significant challenges that prevent success for every child.
When I arrived five years ago, I saw a school community that was hurting in many ways. The most obvious thing was that adult happenings had detracted from the real work. People wanted to move on. I often heard well-meaning people say, “Tell us what to do and we’ll do it.” I responded then as I respond now, it will not be my ideas but yours that make a difference. You tell me what you want to accomplish and I will try to find ways that the rest of us can help make it happen. I believe we have begun.
As much as I relish the work and treasure this staff, it is now time for me to conclude my career. Others will be responsible for the next leg of the journey you have undertaken. From my new sideline position, I will be rooting for this great Tacoma team and watching with pride as you demonstrate how talented people with great heart find solutions in public schools. Tacoma children are so lucky to have you, as I have been lucky to have you as partners. Thank you.