As I prepare to start year 40 in the game, I have decided to change the name of this drivel from “Reflections and Rants from the Assistant Principal” to “Living Outside the Box.”
Have a few reasons for making the change.
1. I am no longer an assistant principal. After 32 years as an administrator, the last 5 as an AP, I retired and moved from Montana to Denver. My last 5 years working in the Big Sky, my title was Assistant Principal. Had several different titles during the first 26 years in the office, from Principal to Director to Instructional Systems Specialist to Superintendent. And from 1987-2006, every school or district that I worked in was either a state, national, or international model. Was able to help write state and national legislation impacting education during that time as well. Thought it was part of the job description. Guess I was lucky enough to pick great people and places to work. But I got bored with “retirement,” so I am now a teacher assistant at a local charter school. And loving it. Again, part of a state model school. Go figure.
2. In the high flyer schools where I worked, a standing rule was to question the status quo. Conventional wisdom didn’t mean much to us. So we made a point of working “outside of the box.” The district where I worked as Superintendent of Schools during the period from 1993-1997 was a founding district of the Virtual High School Global Consortium. Which meant we got into the ed tech game way before most. We were the only district in Colorado to be part of that consortia. As we “innovated” our policies and practices to reflect new ways to teach and learn, we sometimes came up with questions for our state Department of Ed that were not addressed in the current accreditation guidelines. We had a champion working for us, the Deputy Commissioner of Ed. When I was leaving Colorado to join the Department of Defense Education Activity, I met him for lunch, and asked how the Department had felt about us. His response was, “We knew you were working outside the box, we just hope you remembered that there was a box at one time.” I wear that as a Badge of Honor.
3. Which meant that for the period of my career that I worked in a tradition-bound district, I was a Peacock in the Land of Penguins. Also, to me, a Badge of Honor.
So in the time I have left in the game, I will be writing about things that may challenge the status quo, and the way things have always been done. It made for a great career, and I hope the 3 or 4 of you who regularly read this enjoy it.
And so it goes…