Thursday, June 4, 2015

The BEST retirees

Eight years ago, I became the principal of Merton Intermediate School.  It was my dream job and allowed me to have "my own building".  I knew that with the job came great responsibilities.  As one of the fine Merton fathers said to me, in front of his son, "With power comes great responsibility."  The four retirees have been instrumental in guiding me to become a better listener, influencer, and leader.  I can't thank them enough.

One of the first things I did as a principal was to bring the motto "BEST" to our school and district.  BEST is an acronym for Believe, Encourage, Share, and Trust.  The four retirees exemplify each of these characteristics.  I'd like to mention a bit about each of the retirees, in alphabetical order by last name.

Tracey McGinnis

  • She believes in each of her students and their ability to be the best musicians they can be.
  • She encourages her students, and those teachers she has worked with, to become the best music teachers they can be.
  • She shares her ideas with members of our Building Leadership Team and is the voice of the specialists.
  • She trusts all of her students to do the right thing, especially when she takes them off campus to perform and showcase their talents.
John Rheineck
  • He believes in the abilities of all of his students and guides them to do their best.
  • He encourages those students who might otherwise fall through the cracks by reaching out to them on their terms.
  • He shares his beliefs about middle school kids with fellow staff and me, trying to help us better understand what a "normal" middle school kid really is.
  • He trusts each of his students implicitly, and they return this trust to him every day, knowing that a conversation with him is only with him.
Beth Rosen
  • She believes that all students have the ability to do math and provides extra guidance, even if that means missing lunch or a prep.
  • She encourages students to be better, both academically and behaviorally, by holding students to a higher bar than they might think they can attain.
  • She shares her love of math with her students and her colleagues, taking a leadership role for our school and district.
  • She trusts her students and encourages them to take responsibility for themselves.
Barb Schiellack
  • She believes in all of her students and colleagues and knows that they are giving their best every day.
  • She encourages students to take risks to learn something that is hard or different.
  • She shares a wealth of knowledge with her students, families, and colleagues every day.
  • She trusts that her students will leave her classroom and be stand up citizens.
These four retirees have shown me the BEST in my time as their colleague.  They have believed in me, encouraged me, shared with me, and trusted me, and I am forever in their debt.  You will all be greatly missed.