As a child, I loved vacations. On the night before we would leave, with bags packed, I would be so excited that I would struggle to sleep. I would continue to plan amazing vacation adventures in my head through the night and struggle to turn it off and rest. I would imagine sleeping under the stars, visiting dream locations, and eating amazing meals. I loved the adventure. It seemed that answers to questions on vacation were very different. “Dad, can I have mint chocolate chip ice cream before supper?” Questions that would normally be “no” somehow became “yes.” I could easily be spoiled by all the yeses that came along with vacations. To this day, I still pack as much as possible into our adventures. I love vacations and want to squeeze every possible memorable moment out of them. It is not unusual for me to get back home after one of these adventures, totally exhausted, and in need of a rest.
With every exciting adventure comes the dreaded time to leave for home. Our time away is over and it is time to get back to our rituals and routines. Even the most enjoyable adventure comes to an end. A few years ago, on a trip out west, we came to the end of the week and I wasn’t ready to go home. I even mentioned to my wife that I couldn’t wait to come back again. On the plane trip home, I was journaling about what I wanted to do the next time we visited. You know that you have had a great adventure when you get to the end of it and you are not quite ready for it to end.
That is how I am feeling today. One adventure ends, and a new adventure begins. In the last few months, it has become increasingly clear that I would soon have to make some difficult decisions about my priorities. In the last year, my home responsibilities have certainly changed and, at many times, now come in direct conflict with my afterschool obligations here at Tuscola. While I had fooled myself into believing that I could do both, the last few months of quarantine have shown me that I would need to choose. The choice has not been easy, while Tuscola is undoubtedly a tough place to work because of its size and complexity, I love it here. I love the students, I love the staff, and I love that I have been able to be a part of the history of this place. Unfortunately, to do this job well takes more of me than I now have to give. I have been blessed with the opportunity to meet and lead some amazing people, and I look forward to seeing what the amazing students and staff do in the coming years.
I will not be far away. I have been blessed with the opportunity to transition to another fantastic school. I began my career as an afterschool worker and later did my student teaching at the school. If fact, Hazelwood Elementary has been a big part of my story for most of my life. When I was a child, my mother worked as the bookkeeper at Hazelwood, so I spent a good portion of my summers in the school and surrounding community. I feel so blessed to be able to lead another great group of students and staff in such an amazing community.
Through his character Winnie the Pooh, A. A. Milne once wrote, “How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.” When I was younger, the best adventures were those that were hard to end. We tend to want a great trip to continue for just one more day. I feel blessed to have been a part of something special enough to be tough to leave. I can’t say thank you enough to those of you that have supported me in my time here. I look forward to continuing the adventure.