Friday, September 19, 2014

My incredible educator journey

In learning with my #ptcamp PLN this summer, we occasionally posed a question that left us pause to reflect.  Our most recent question is about our journey as an educator and how we arrived at our current position.  While thinking about this, I began to remember those who have been most instrumental in my journey so I decided to share a little bit about these great mentors.  This list is far from all inclusive, but today these are the ones that are in my thoughts and reflections.  There are 15 of them, and they all deserve more than just a paragraph, so this might be the start of a book.  But more on that later.

Bill Swartz (coach)
Coach had a huge impact on me as a competitor, as a leader, and as a coach.  A coach, after all, is an educator first.  His attention to detail and relationships are what I admire most about him.  Thanks to Coach, I was able to attain a high school head coaching position at 25 years of age.

Peter Rempe (former teacher)
This man could flat out teach.  I really think he was the original Dave Burgess of "Teach Like a Pirate" fame.  You wanted to come to his class because you really didn't know what he was going to do in class to engage you in learning.  I don't like to pick favorites, but he is my favorite teacher ever.

Pastor James Wilch
I can't say enough about this man's impact on my life.  He treats everyone as his equal.  He is a leader beyond compare and those who know him would follow, and support, him anywhere.  He saw enough in me to guide me as a leader and a follower.

Joe Vitale (former principal)
The first principal that I ever worked for was Mr. Vitale.  I was right out of college and he visited my classroom often, not in a formal sense, but he still provided me with invaluable feedback.  He is the reason that I am in classrooms every day as a principal.  He built positive relationships with students, families, and staff and I hope that I can continue to do the same due to his modeling.

Dick Luther (coach)
Coach has the unbelievable knack of finding the best in each of his players.  Hustle and defense are just as important to him as being the leading scorer.  His constant flow of positive comments is something that I emulate to this day.

Bob Tolbert (coach)
Coach is the best motivator that I have ever been around.  He seems to always know what to say to cause you to give nothing less than your best effort.  He also motivated you to be a team player, a cog in a wheel of success.  His guidance and leadership is the main reason our team won a state championship in volleyball in 1981.

Deb Gerner (teacher)
Ms. Gerner was my middle school math teacher and, early in my teaching career, a colleague as a middle school teacher.  She taught me the importance of working with individual students and guiding us toward success through persevering even with the most difficult concepts.  She is why I find time to meet with students one on one whenever I can.

Joe Schroeder (former colleague)
Joe is an education leader in Wisconsin and I know that I can contact him at any time and he will be there for me.  We worked together in the same district when I first became an administrator.  He is a leader who develops leaders beyond even where they think they can go.

Mark Flynn (former colleague)
Mark is a true relationship builder.  He makes you want to work for and with him and no task seemed too big when he was on your side, which was nearly all of the time.  In every student, staff, or family conversation, I have him in mind as I try to further foster relationships.

Mike Budisch (current colleague)
The man just exudes education.  Even when we aren't talking about school, we're talking about school.  He has knowledge of Primary School students that he shares willingly and without reservation.  He knows the names of every student in his school, something I strive for every year and then fall short of accomplishing.  Above all, he is my closest educational friend and I rely on him for more than even he can comprehend.

First Voxer PLN
I won't mention all of these people but they know who they are.  This group talks about #eduwins and #edustruggles every day.  They are my go to people on my best days and my worst days.  I cannot thank them enough for their friendship and wisdom.

#ptcamp Voxer PLN
This group of educators and parents are an incredible resource.  They share willingly and often and we have become close friends even though many of us have never met face to face.  I look forward to meeting as many of them as I can in June of 2015 at the National Family Engagement conference (Conference will be posted at

Joe and Liz Posick (my parents)
My mom and dad have truly been the greatest influences in my life when it comes to doing things for others.  It's a rare occasion when they aren't doing something for someone else.  They are active with friends and their church and are willing to chip in to help out anyone at just about any time.  I am continuously striving to be as giving as they are of their time and talents.

Lauren Posick (my daughter)
When you have your own child or children, I really think you become a different educator.  You begin to more clearly understand how a child "works" as you see your own child grow and learn and thrive.  Lauren and I spent the last five years being not only father and daughter but principal and student.  Both points of view are important and I often wore two hats- father and principal, sometimes at the same time and sometimes once at a time.  She has grounded me in both of my roles and I cannot thank her enough for that.

Jenifer Posick (my wife)
Jen has been my guiding force for as long as I have known her.  She is extremely supportive of me, is a sounding board, shares her ideas and suggestions, and, most importantly, reminds me when it's time for our family and to forget about school.  Above all else, she is my greatest cheerleader and wants me to continue to strive for professional success each and every day.  Without her, I would not be the principal, parent, or husband that I am today.

These 15 people have molded me into the educator that I am today.  Aside from the last three, who are the most important to me, the other 12 could be in any order.  There are many more who I have not mentioned, not because they weren't influential in my life but because these are the ones I'm thinking about today.  If you remember the last line of the first paragraph about writing a book, Jen is the one who continues to remind me that I should write a book.  I'm sure that I will, someday.  Maybe this blog is the first step in the process.

*If you decide to leave a comment, please make sure that you mention one or more people who have influenced your journey as an educator.  Each of those that I have mentioned will receive a copy of this blog so that they know how much they have meant to me.