Letting Go, Looking Back, and Learning to be Brave

Excuse me while I apologize for having to dust off the cobwebs on my WordPress account. To say it’s been a while…is a BIG understatement. (Better late than never, right?)


This year was amazing, challenging, exhilarating and different. There were many “firsts”, and unfortunately, some “lasts”. My #oneword2016 was “seek”. There were moments, relationships, and new knowledge that I believe has shaped me to be the person and leader I am-all because I dared to SEEK this past year. 


Looking back, it’s the relationships that I formed with others that made the biggest impact in inspiring me to be brave. These leaders and colleagues are more than that….they are FRIENDS. Some of them I’ve had the opportunity to see regularly at OAESP functions, while others I’ve met once at NAESP or never. But, I know their voices on the phone and on voxer. I know their children’s names, their spouses names, their hobbies and their joys. These friends have also uplifted me in one of my darkest moments of this year-the death of my dear grandpa. I can never tell them how encouraging and supportive they have been-Thank you, friends, sincerely. 


These friends-they are pretty amazing leaders. From them I’ve grown in my leadership abilities by leaps and bounds. I’ve been out of my office and “in the action” at school WITH KIDS more this year than ever. I made connections with kids and took every opportunity to SEEK making moments memorable for each one. I can’t tell you how much joy comes from just spending a few moments in conversation with a child, from getting a hug or high-five from the child who usually just passes by you with no emotion on their face, or from a struggling reader asking to read to you to show you how much his reading has improved. Joy. My days at school are filled with it because I’m present and seeking interaction with kids. 

As amazing as 2016 was, I’d like to dedicate this very last, long-time-coming post of 2016 to my beloved Grandpa. As the father-figure in my life for the past 38 years, he has made quite and impact on me. Grandpa taught me that working hard pays off. Whether it was pumping wells, tending to the cattle or working on a combine or tractor, Grandpa was ALWAYS doing something-working hard-to improve himself, and ultimately our lives. He was also very much a people person. He never met a stranger. And he ALWAYS had a joke to tell. In ANY situation, he brought laugher and smiles to those around him with a riddle or joke. He enjoyed seeing others smiling and laughing. I can still see that twinkle in his eye as he anticipated others’ joy and amusement when he would deliver a punchline. These memories will stay with me forever. But I think the best tribute I can make to Grandpa is to try to be more like him in 2017 and beyond. I hope to bring more laughter and smiles to others in this new year, because after all, laughter is the best medicine. Tell God a good side-splitter for me up there, Grandpa Loyd! 


2017-I’m ready for you!

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