Monday, October 21, 2013

Game On!

Over the weekend I ran the Empire Marathon. This was my first and only marathon. I learned a lot during that race. I was reminded of the value of practice because I had not done enough of it (not by choice, I was injured for about a month).  I was also reminded that I am still not a quitter after all these years and never will be. I ran like a gazelle (in my mind) through mile 16 when my legs completely cramped up.  I could not move. No joke.  I stretched, walked, and took encouragement from other runners through mile 24 when I really hit a wall. A volunteer got right in my face and said, "Go get your medal." I am sure he said that to everyone else behind me too but those were the exact words that I needed to hear.

Those words reminded me that as educators simply telling a student, "good job" or "cool sneakers" or something else small can make a huge difference in their day.  As I crossed the finish line, all I could think was "mission accomplished". I still cannot walk well but that will be short lived. I hope! I want to thank my family for the support and encouragement, all of the runners around me for their kind words, the race organizers, volunteers, and emergency personnel. By the numbers? Lost 5 pounds, burned 3,600 calories, and went 45,092 steps. Going to be eating whatever I want for a few days!

What is Happening in Education: While running, I also gave a lot of thought to what is happening in education (I know, pretty exciting right)? I can think of twenty different ways to lead the state education department differently, and I need to stop keeping quiet about that. I have been a superintendent for almost 14 years in two very successful school districts because of great staff, students, and communities. This is not rocket science. There are better ways to implement national standards and hold all accountable. I am not going to be an arm chair quarterback or petition or yell about what is happening today in New York State.  I am going to create a plan to be used if the opportunity presents itself. No more standing by! Pretty deep thoughts while pounding pavement!

The Commissioner has reinstated some form of public listening sessions. I think those are important along with making sure that elected officials know that change is needed. If you are able to attend these sessions, my advice would be to not make anything personal. Personal comments and attacks weaken good points. Be factual, be passionate, and be willing to roll up your sleeves with a solution. Be on the lookout for a local appearance schedule.

Students Make Strides: Congratulations to the many staff, students, and community members that participated in the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk this weekend. Here is a great photo from that includes a picture of some of our cheerleaders that participated in the walk: Capri Coggi, Amanda Grome, Kayla Overvold, Kyla Williams, and Kelly McCarthy. Nice job everyone.

Lacrosse Coach Elmer is Honored: After the marathon (and a shower), I had the opportunity to attend an induction of our girls lacrosse coach, Bob Elmer, into the Upstate NY Chapter of US Lacrosse's Hall of Fame. We are very fortunate to have such talented coaches working with our student athletes. This Hall of Fame class also includes three other West Genny graduates: Tom Gravante, Jeff McCormick, and Dan Sheehan. Congratulations! 

Upcoming Events: Our Capital Project vote is just a few weeks away, November 12, and I will be out and about speaking about it. Just check our website for a schedule.  Also, next Sunday our 'Wildcat' Marching Band will be performing at the Carrier Dome. I am always very excited to see our students perform on such a big stage!

Enjoy the week and I will see you around.