mandygagliardi: I have family and close friends who are parents, teacher, school administrators and community leaders. This year has been hard. But, witnessing the obstacles that they are facing and the way that they approach the unknown with courage in the face of criticism - it gives me hope. It helps me take stock of my own struggles and really put them in perspective. I am here because I want to surround myself with the type of people who have every cause to feel defeated but rise to meet the road each day.
CharleighOberto: My sister is a teacher in one of our partner districts. All four of my nieces go to school in partner districts. My nieces are destined for greatness, and I want them to have every opportunity possible. So, for me — Taylor, Dakota, Teagan and Camryn are the reason why I get up every day and work hard to help my team so that they can in turn help districts get better at getting better. It takes a village, and I'm thrilled to play a small part in it.
Melissa: Watching the growth and development of PEOPLE!
Guest: I am passionate to help people in organizations "get better at getting better" and, in doing so, I love to make the complex simple. I especially like finding joy in the simple things in life.
Guest: For me, it's all about elevating the impact. If we can help our leaders be their best selves, which helps our students and employees be their best selves, think about how that impact cascades. Helping others see and realize their potential in action is what it is all about.
Guest: My purpose is to connect the human qualities of life to the work we do in education. Our work is more than instilling math facts and reading and writing skills. It is about connecting these concepts to all of the qualities that make us human. It begins with relationships and connection, which is something that is being challenged in our current world climate.
Guest: My purpose is to connect to people and their education journey in higher education. Receiving the support and resources needed to be successful according to how they define success. In addition, to connect employees and students, offering the ability for employees to define their own success.
Guest: My purpose is to showcase all the amazing things happening with our students, staff, and community. Schools are a staple in any community and I feel so lucky that I get to be part of a larger group and shine a light on all the positives happening.
Gayle JB: Hi colleagues from near and far! I am eager to listen to the stories of partner organizations as they have managed to put out the fires on their desks as they have stayed the course of continuous improvement. Serious focus, intentionality, and passion --- there will be so much of these things in terms of energy and strategies + tactics to soak up (Gayle Juneau-Butler, Studer Education Coach) - have fun!
Heather: My purpose and passion is to serve others with honesty and integrity while continuing to learn and develop. We are on a journey to always inspire and improve on our pursuit for excellence. My current drive is to find ways to help others become happier in their work. I am excited and tremendously grateful to partake in this opportunity to learn from others. Now more than ever, is the time to reflect on what is truly important as we approach a season for giving thanks.
jsternke: I have always felt blessed to be an educator. We have the opportunity to change the trajectory of people's lives. Think of that. We can help students feel more confident, open doors to a better future, help them believe in a brighter future -- and help them make it happen. That's my purpose. I feel so lucky to be in a profession where we are responsible for giving people better "life chances". We enhance our world one student at a time. That's a gift, not a job. Enjoy the conference!
JPH: I have always said you can't take away someone's education...and that is why I work hard each and every day to ensure students of poverty receive the best education possible. I truly believe that by providing a quality education we can change people's trajectory for the better. However, we can not do it alone, it takes a village that communicates our purpose daily and keeps us focused on the mission. The world around us is changing; therefore, we too must change with it.
Brandon: I love to learn, and have the greatest respect for teachers & educators. Especially this year, there has been such a burden on teachers to wear so many hats, and I'm proud to work on a team that is taking this time to honor our education leaders. I always try to look at "the work that my work serves," and my work serves those who are on the front lines serving our families and communities. Thank you for everything you do!
April: I feel honored to serve the district and community that helped mold me into the person I am. I strive to always have the students' best interest at heart, and I advocate for them to have an education that will help them better their lives and lead them to success. I believe in second chances and leading with a servant's heart. "To Whom much is given much is required..." are words that I live by, and I can't help but want to give back to the community/district that has given so much to me.
Robin: A student gave me a framed quote, "You never know how far your ripple extends in the pond." I never quite understood this until on holiday when I was out shopping, a young man stopped me and said, "you might not remember me but I remember you." "You cared about me when I did not care about myself. " I then remembered Alan. We spent a lot of time in hall talking about his behavior and class work during his junior year of high school. Mostly I did the talking and I did not think I was getting through to him.
Guest: My dad's servant heart inspires me every single day. He's dying and yet even in the midst of this hard journey he's on, he is always "other-focused." Last night as I was holding his hand and enjoying precious time with him and my mom, he sent me on a mission to get some of our maple syrup up from the basement of the farmhouse, put a family label on it, put it in a gift bag to make sure I take to his massage therapist on her birthday in early December. He knows he won't be here to do it himself.
Valerie: My second year teaching I had a student that everyone had "given up on". He never turned in an assignment. He didn't make a real attempt on assessments. I did a big class project on Ancient Egypt and allowed him to pick his role and contribution. He decided to transform the classroom into Ancient Egypt, building small homes, sarcophagus, pyramids, etc, and he lit it all up by wiring it all. To watch him come alive and be engaged was life altering for me, and forever changed the way I approach learning.
Jerim: A student during our closure emailed me that she misses seeing me at school. This. This right here is exactly what gives me purpose.
Jen: Service to others is my passion. It was instilled in me early on as the daughter and granddaughter of veterans that continue to give back and serve our community. Education is a great opportunity to serve our most precious resource, children, our future. As a leader, I continue to serve our community, students, and our organization.
Holly Cross: Our Oak Ridge Schools vision is to ensure success for every student in college, career, and life. I learned early in my education career about the 3Rs - relationship, relevance, and rigor - in that order. Lately, I have been focusing on relevance and authenticity. I believe this generation expects their relationships and their rigorous content to be relevant and authentic. It is the glue that holds it all together. This relevance is essential to yield success in college, career, and life.
Rachel W: A love of English brought me to education, and dedication to my students provided a purpose that continues to sustain me. My work now centers around supporting the adults who support our students so that we can all constantly work toward becoming the best version of ourselves. My purpose, to meet students where they are and provide the right supports for their growth.
MaryES: I’ve had many great teachers over the years. Mrs. Crawford, my 5th grade teacher especially made a great impression on me. It was in her class that I fell in love with creative writing. I made a poetry book & did the art for it and can still see it in my mind so clearly right now. She made learning fun and was so affirming. I will never forget her! Thanks to all of the educators who serve our families & communities! It’s rewarding to get to work on this team and contribute in a small way to this work.
Ronda: Teaching is one of the most important jobs on the planet, helping our children realize their worth and potential. I am who I am today because of the teachers that saw me and helped me through difficult times. Supporting teachers is a small way I can give back to this slice of passionate, dedicated humanity. Thank you.