Superintendent’s Corner: Renewal

Group of kids going to school together.

One of the greatest books of philosophy ever written was a journal of reflections by Marcus Aurelius. Marcus (No, we weren’t on a first-name basis) was a Roman Emperor from 161 to 180. He is considered the last of the ‘Good Emperors,’ and his work is often quoted by stoics (folks who figure hard work and discipline can get you through pretty much everything). One of my favorite quotes is, “Everyone’s life lies within the present; for the past is spent and done with, and the future is uncertain.”

People often ask why I love the field of education so much. Among many reasons, one is that we are given the gift of renewal every year. After a break between academic years, with lots of planning and preparation, a new year starts. We enter the school year with new eyes, with a sense of wonder, and with a feeling of restored energy. As the summer of 2022 winds down, we get to let go of the past, briefly ponder the uncertainty of the future, and focus deeply on the present. Just visit a school on the first day of the year, and you will understand what I mean.

As I enter this new year, I want to do it with new eyes. I want to be open to learning. I want to have the countless misperceptions I inherited or adopted challenged. I want to feel the joy of seeing others grow. I want to live in the moment more than in the past or future. As our communities explore what it means to Close Gaps, Grow People, Influence Change, and Eradicate Racism, I hope we can all respond as Marcus did with this habit of mind, “If someone can prove me wrong and show me my mistake in any thought or action, I shall gladly change. I seek the truth, which never harmed anyone: the harm is to persist in one’s own self-deception and ignorance.”

Wishing you all a wonder-filled year!