Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Why I Love My Job

At the Minnesota Association of School Administrators (MASA) Conference on Tuesday, September 30, 2014 I had the opportunity to hear Dr. Heidi Hahn speak about research she recently conducted.  Heidi is the Special Education Director at the Paul Bunyan Education Cooperative in Brainerd, MN.  Dr. Hahn was awarded the Richard Green Scholar Award by MASA for her research on teacher satisfaction and its relationship to effective schools. 

At the end of Heidi's presentation of her research she asked us the following question (in my words): Do you love your job?  If so, why?  I took this as a challenge and have decided to answer this question in a public format so that you all can learn how I feel about my job as the Janesville-Waldorf-Pemberton Superintendent.

In short, yes, I do love my job.  However, a simple yes or no is not sufficient when answering this question.  It is important to share why I love my job.  In all likelihood I will forget to mention all of the reasons I love it, but my intent is to put my best foot forward.

Here it goes...

1.  Without question, I love my job because the focus of my work is on our students.  The update of the baseball field is to keep our students safe while participating.  Our kitchen updates and securing our school building will be advantageous to our students.  The paved parking lot provides our students with a safe space to park their cars while they engage in a day filled with learning.  Setting the budget is always done with the students at the center of our decision making.  I have a strong passion for making a positive impact on students and am thrilled I have an opportunity to do it at a macro level in our great district.

2.  I love my job because our entire staff is filled with passion to do the work they do on a daily basis.  Each day as I walk around the building I see the staff's enthusiasm for doing the work they do.  All of our staff members have a firm understanding that no matter what role they play in our school building, they have an impact on our students.  It is important to our staff to provide a positive impact on each student in an effort to leave a lasting impression.  To be frank, it is humbling to work around so many adults that want to see our extraordinary students accomplish extraordinary things. 

3.  I love my job because our families are so supportive.  In rural communities, such as ours, you see this support at its pinnacle.  Simply attend an fine arts or athletic event and you'll see our families love for this school district and the work their children do within our four walls.  To attend one of these events you will see the true power of supportive families. 

4. I love my job because we have great support from our three communities and business communities as a whole.  Members of our communities support us with their confidence and kind words.  In many cases our communities have supported us financially which has allowed us to experience and partake in continuous improvement efforts.  Many of our community members and business community have donated goods and services to improve our school.  We are all very fortunate to experience the generosity of our three communities.

5.  I love my job because I get to see continuous improvement take place on a daily basis.  I have the opportunity to watch students celebrate academic, emotional, and social success.  I am allowed the opportunity to watch our staff develop their practice in all areas of our school community.  Seeing school improvement take place first hand is an amazing benefit of my job.

As I mentioned earlier, I wouldn't be able to cover everything and this is only a start.  What I have really picked up on this week is to value what we have.  We have it nice in our three communities, and I am honored to lead the Janesville-Waldorf-Pemberton School District. 

I love my job!

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