Congratulations on your last day of school. I know it is a bittersweet feeling saying goodbye to students with whom you have built relationships and who have given life to our schools. Every teacher and aide knows that student success would not be possible except for the hundreds of support staff: our secretaries, maintenance, custodial, food service, tech, nurses and other staff members who provide a foundation for student success. You are all deserving of the honorific title of educator. On behalf of the children you serve, Thank You! While we are all eager and overdue for hard-earned rest, a bit of ourselves leaves with the kids every year. I stand in awe at what you have accomplished and overcome in the past nine months, and I have never been prouder to be a KIBSD educator.
Today is bittersweet for me too, as it is my final last day of school. Although I still have a few weeks left in my office, children are the heartbeat of the school, and today I notice the silence as this chapter comes to an end. I will miss countless things about being an educator, but one of the greatest will be the sense of renewal that I feel when I walk through the halls of a school and see the faces of children. The opportunity to work with kids is a gift, as are each of them, and it has been my privilege to witness the remarkable work you do together every day.
As I conclude this year, I feel a tremendous sense of pride and peace, knowing that I am leaving behind a dedicated staff, a strong leadership team, many experienced teachers and aides, and powerful, dedicated professionals in every department of the district. Even though this work is never truly finished and many of my dreams for KIBSD were deferred these past few years, I leave knowing that it is the right time. I also leave hopeful that as the long shadow of the pandemic wanes, we all continue binding together to meet the needs of students with intention, equity, and empathy.
Thank you for the opportunity to serve you and to serve the children of Kodiak together. Thank you for continuing to carry vision for students until they can carry it for themselves. Thank you for helping them find success and glimpse their potential. Thank you for seeing them and loving them for who they are, and for keeping them safe. I am still amazed that we educators can become immortal through the imprint we make in the lives of children. There is no greater honor, nor anything more worthwhile, fulfilling, noble or important.
Today I think of the words of A.A. Milne’s character Winnie-the-Pooh who said, “How lucky I am to have something which makes saying goodbye so hard.” I have been beyond blessed to do what I love for so many years. I have been blessed to have shared in the journey with so many talented educators who inspired, taught, and shaped me along the way. I am grateful and humbled. I wish you well. I hope that today marks the beginning of a wonderful summer filled with joy, good health and adventure. Take care of yourselves and one another.