Sunday, May 31, 2015

Year One is in The Books!

Well I did it.  I survived my first year as an administrator.  Especially coming straight out of the classroom.

This year was a roller coaster for sure.  I think just about every single thing that could have gone wrong did.  But I learned so much.  And I've always been of the belief that mistakes are ok as long as you learn from them and don't repeat them.

Monday I move onto my new campus, Webb Elementary, and prepare to start as a principal on a campus with 825 PreK-5th graders.  I also start the process of combining my Navasota Intermediate family with my new Webb family since 95% of my NIS folks are coming with me to Webb.   I figured the best way to wrap up this year was to share the parting email I sent to my team yesterday....

Well we did it guys.  We officially made it to the end of a school year.

When I look back at this past year, it brings tears to my eyes.

We are the final family of Navasota Intermediate.  We helped usher in a new era for NISD.  We came together with a clean slate like no other campus in this district has ever done.  There is not, and there will never be a year like this year.

Sometimes it felt like everything that could have gone wrong, did.  From losing staff members, to wild students, to extreme educational deficiencies, hospital trips, floods, and so much more.

But what I will remember most is this family.  How we came together, and worked together to create something special here.

From day one, our motto was "Be Brave" and "You Matter".  I have seen different forms of bravery out of each and every one of you.  I watched you time and time again, step outside your comfort zone, try something new, and push your own thinking to always do what's best for kids.

But to me, being reminded (and reminding others) of how much we each matter is what truly made the difference.  You can put all the world's best teachers in a school together, and you won't see real change unless relationships are number one.

I have sat and cried with countless families and students who were, for the first time, told that they were more important than a test score.  Told that someone was going to do whatever it took to help their child find success.  I watched so many walls get torn down as we cooked hot dogs for families, collected food for the needy, gave turkeys at thanksgiving, paid for school lunches, paid for field trips, collect clothing, and so much more.

We have dealt with students who have never before been told they were important.  That they were valued.  That they mattered.  I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that this year, we changed lives.  And that those repercussions will be felt for years to come.

As some of us head to new districts, some of us to new campuses, and some of stay to carry the torch, let us remember one thing.  A family is not easily broken.  I hope to see each of you again at some point in our journey.  

Please know that you each hold a special place in my heart.  For me, completing my first year, not only as an administrator, but as a Principal, wasn't easy.  There were many days I felt like I wasn't doing a very good job. There are so many things I feel like I could have done better, said better, tried harder, been in more places.  I think that's what a good teacher does though. The reflect on what they can do better, but at the same time they don't forget about all the things that wen't RIGHT. I hope it came across that I always tried to make sure every decision was best for these kids, because they are why we do what we do.  But you guys (and of course these kiddos) are what kept me going.  I wouldn't trade this year for anything, and I haven't for a second regretted my decision to come here and do this.

So as you go off into your next adventure, remember to take time to breathe.  To stop and be grateful.  To spread gratitude to others.  But most of all, remember to Be Brave and let others know just how much they matter.

For the final time, 
Todd Nesloney
Principal/Lead Learner
Navasota Intermediate