Today is my last official day of summer. However, this whole summer has pretty much been spent getting ready for what will begin tomorrow at 7:30 am. The feeling at my house this evening is one of eager anticipation, mixed with perhaps a little sprinkling of something that smells a bit like new books and school-ready sneakers. Tomorrow is my first day of school. Not just any first day of school.
Four weeks ago, I was in a city I have longed to see for many years – Paris. It was there I looked online at the posting for the position I wanted, and I realized I could apply. I would be crazy not to. I was completely qualified, but the application date was prior to my return. And so, from Paris I reached out to six extraordinary people to write letters of recommendation for me, to one amazing colleague to edit my revised resume and letter of intent. I called my son to ask for files from my computer that I had left home. I texted my daughter and asked her to pick up the letters and deliver them for me. I called a friend to help coordinate delivery of all the pieces of the application packet. I finished the process from thousands of miles away. All thanks to a small army of supporters who pitched in to support.
Three weeks ago I sat in an interview with a panel of dedicated teachers, a parent representative, the office manager and school area director and sought to teach them about my qualifications for this very important job. I was called back for a second interview with the superintendent. He called later that day to offer me the position. Even before this process I began to imagine ways to begin. I’d met many of the current teachers. They were on fire for their students. I was over the moon! I celebrated with friends and colleagues and called on trusted advisors.
Two weeks ago I drove by the school every day considering what I know at present and remembering. My son spent kindergarten and first grade within those walls. Sweet wonderful days. I ran the community art program there during those years. I remember the military wives club raising funds to purchase the large marquee on which they now
proudly display pertinent dates and events. I walked around the school’s perimeter. I noticed two trucks parked there each day, likely the plant manager and building and grounds people summer cleaning the campus. I reached out to people who currently work there and to a few from the community with ties and interest in the school. I also took the time to read and participate in an electronic book club (#WabtR) with teachers from across the country who are literacy leaders. I learned so much from participating in the writing about reading week with these incredible educators. Much I hope to bring to this new adventure. What a great professional development forum using google docs and twitter.
This past week I took a couple of days and got out of town, squeezing in a little more summer before the real work of supporting this special school begins. I participated in my regular Wednesday twitter chats led by the wonderful staff developers at Columbia Teachers College. (#tcrwp) I took care of appointments and paperwork at home so that I will be clear once tomorrow arrives. I stopped by the school on Monday and met the two men who take care of the building and grounds all year long. They were incredibly helpful and very busy. The school is getting a roof repair, new lines on the playground. There’s a beautiful new mural going in, and the main office is getting a new tile floor – wonderful updates to a beautiful school building.
Now we are here. It is the evening before my first day. My first day as principal of the sweetest little school by the sea you ever imagined.
So tonight as I lay out clothes, my computer, note books and calendar, grab my water bottle and a Kind bar, I will also be tucking in a good deal of courage and enthusiasm. I can’t wait to get in, meet everyone and begin the work of growing and supporting this very special little school.