A Fond Farewell
In April we had our final staff meeting for 2020-2021, and for me it would be my last staff meeting ever. I spoke to the staff about the usual business at hand, but they also provided me with lunch, gifts and kind words. As I spoke to all I did so with a lump in my throat and some moments where I had to stop and collect myself. As I write this blog, I am acutely aware that this will also be my very last blog posting, and some of those same bittersweet feelings are once again at play.
I have made the very difficult decision to retire, and leave the profession that has brought me great joy for 37 years. Like so many others, living through Covid-19 caused me to reflect and think about life in a new way. For me, that reflection resulted in longing for additional time with beloved friends and family, sleeping in a little later than I should, finding that perfect exercise class, and experiencing fully the delight that grandparenthood will bring (coming soon in November 2021!).
But it also means, saying goodbye to a job that is so much more than simply a workplace. In my years as LANK’s Executive Director I have been able to help establish a Bears and Cubs program, Explore and More, write website verbiage, blogs, emails, brochures, handbooks, policies, job descriptions, curriculum, welcome to LANK postcards, program benchmarks, evaluations. I’ve hired teachers and contractors, shared teaching tools, materials, energy, and passion for early childhood education. I’ve maintained licensing requirements and found substitutes in the very early hours of the morning. It’s been a pleasure planning professional development for teachers, student programming for preschoolers, and special events for the entire school. I’ve enjoyed flexing my creative energies by helping to envision and create videos that speak to who we are, pajama parties, school spirit days, ushering the arrival of chicks and eggs, and encouraging the naming of our beautiful playground trees. I’ve so enjoyed our community events, and getting to know families on a deeper level. Sharing photos and thoughts on Facebook and Instagram has been a delight. Less fun jobs have included car lines in the snow and rain, cleaning lofts and closets, checking on false alarms, and worrying about the health and safety of all. I am one of the proud few that can say I directed a school that remained open during the Covid 19 global pandemic!
Mostly, what I will miss is the people. It will be hard not to share daily news with my wonderful partner Patty, or provide materials or a listening ear to our lovely staff of teachers. I’ll miss our custodian Jerry’s smile, and advising parents about childhood development. I’m sure I’ll remember laughing with our office manager Preeti, and problem solving with our current board president, Morgan. Most of all I will miss the shared conversation and sights/sounds of small children. They are the reason educators do what we do! Simply put, I love them and they love me.
Goodbyes are always difficult for me. But, this one will be made sweeter by the handmade cards and pictures from little children, the library of photos on my phone, the well wishes from my colleagues, the knowledge that Patty and our new director will make a terrific team, and the treasure trove of memories I will take with me. Thank you for entrusting your most precious gifts to me, and giving me this forever remembrance. It will be treasured.