26 July 2013

Taking a Leap

I am someone who talks of stepping out of comfort zones to innovate and try new things, but I am also someone who talks this talk but hesitates to take action for fear of failure. Well, I have decided to step out--to take a leap--and to risk failure.

Late this spring I was offered an opportunity to be part of a brand new organization with a mission in which I believe and a hope to transform education in my state.  The risks here are those related to any new organization just beginning, funding and effective leadership. As a non-profit organization, we will be raising funds continually to keep the organization alive and thriving to support the work of innovative teachers and schools in our state.  We will be working with the Board to establish a strategic plan and vision whereby we measure success based on real results.

I could have remained in the local school system where I was enjoying my work with literacy curriculum, instruction, and assessment in secondary schools and where I served as a literacy specialist and resource teacher leader for 12 middle schools, 5 high schools, and numerous programs.  However, had I remained in this position I would have remained in a place of comfort and stability and would not have been walking my talk of the importance of stepping out and taking risks for the sake of creating fresh learning experiences for students. 

My hopes and plans for my new adventure are that 

1) I will learn
2) I will lead
3) I will contribute 

and will do all of the above with the same passion and commitment I have always had for teaching and learning.
Seattle, WA (makes me think adventure)

21 July 2013

Balancing Work and Play

Three states, three conferences, a new job, a Bob Dylan/Wilco concert, and two family birthday celebrations later, I am blogging again and on the topic of balance in life.  One of my least favorite questions to answer is--how do you find the time to do everything you do?  For me, it's about prioritizing, and what's at the top of the priority list fluctuates from day to day or hour to hour, depending upon what's happening in my life at any particular time.  For the past few weeks, blogging was not at the top of my priority list because I decided to spend more time with family and friends in between traveling for work and seeing sites in the beautiful state of Washington with friends.
view of Mount St. Helens from our hike

I just finished a stint where I worked three jobs.  One full-time job for the local public school system, seven months of free-lance writing for a company wanting explanations and instructional strategies for the common core standards, and finally since April, a part-time educational consultancy position for a new non-profit organization.

While most anyone who knows me well will tell you I enjoy working a lot, most will also tell you I adore my family and work hard to provide for them.  Personally,  I also know I would not want to continue working three jobs at the pace I was working.  I was driven by specific goals and the need for balancing work and family play time.  Initially, I accepted the free-lance writing gig to earn money for a family vacation to Washington, D.C.. Knowing I would have an entire week of play with the most important people in my life kept me motivated.  

After that trip, my drive to finish what I started and to fulfill a commitment kept me going. Writing explanations for the standards allowed me to spend more time understanding and revisiting the standards we use in most of the states in the USA when I work with teachers on designing units of study.

The part-time consultancy position?  How could I resist? The organization encapsulates many of the very priorities I appreciate and desire for public education--a focus on transforming education in our state.  As of July1, I am back to one full-time job with this brand new organization. 

In the coming months, you can expect to see me continue blogging because it's important to me, but I also plan to

Hike more...
Exercise more...
Read more..more..more...
Write more...
Volunteer more...
See more live music...
Attend more cross country meets...
Attend more soccer games...

And, of course, I plan to do all these things with the people who matter most to me.