It has been three months since my last blog entry. Since that time, my family and I have moved to Texas. New job. New house. New town. New neighborhood. New, new, new. How do you handle newness? I didn't even use the word "newness" in my vocabulary until now.
So we moved to Texas, Magnolia, Texas to be exact. How did we find Magnolia? My wife and I are in educaiton. We have been in education for a combined 21 years, all of which has been in Mississippi. This spring, we had the conversation of where to call our career "home." Was it Mississippi or elsewhere? We weighed our options and made the decision to literally move West. We found Magnolia only through faithful prayer and God's providence. So, we move and now the new sets in. What's my game plan?
I had my former superintendent once give a commentary on "change and being new." His best advice was to walk the fence line. Walk the fence line? I didn't quite understand at first unitl he went on to explain. He sketched the picture with his words. Picture a plot of land, 20 to 40 acres or so. On this land are cattle. You have just been gifted this land and its live stock. What do yoo do? First, you walk the fence line. Why? As you are walking the fence line, you are looking for holes in the fencing so that your cattle herd doesn't escape. He said that cattle herd is your investment. As you are walking the fence line, you are looking inward, surveying the land and taking inventory of your surroundings (food, water, shelter, etc.)
Walking the fence line is a great plan for anyone, especially new adminstratrion in a school system. Why? You are new. There are customs, traditions, rituals, policies, and procedures that were in place before you came. The supe said to protect your assessments. For me, as an administratory, that means protecting your teachers and students. Just like the fence line or the elements inside the fence line, we have to be very careful before we insert our "change." My advice is to walk the fence line, take notes, and know when it's necessary to mend the fences or change to land inventory.
In my situation, there are some really GREAT things happening at Nichols Sawmill Elementary and Magnolia Independent School District. There is a good game plan in place for the success of students and teachers, and there are some things that I see from an outsider with "fresh eyes" that need mending. How soon do you make the repair and change things for the better? My advice is to really seek to understand before being understood. I say to continue walking the fence line and really understand what is going on. Ask yourself is this best for students and teachers? Are you protecting your good teachers? Will this direction, will this process yield positivity and productivity?
I am excited to be in Texas, to be in Magnolia, and to be an assistant principal for Nichols Sawmill Elementary with Magnolia Independent School District. The people here are so sincere, so nice, and very genuine. I love the teachers, the students, and the people I work with every day.