Leadership is about creating the space where great things can happen.
Recently, I received an email from my friend Eric. In it he shares…
We did it here at FRS! We survived hopefully the most challenging school years in recent history.
I am exhausted! This end of year was particularly challenging bidding farewell to two incredible FRS teachers who will never be replaced. This in combination. With several families who have been with me there for the last 14 years. I don’t like good byes Rich.
Eric is currently a principal at a nearby elementary school. Over the time I’ve been sharing thoughts via this blog, I’ve frequently written about leadership. In his email, Eric shared a letter he received from a parent whose children have attended the school where Eric is principal. This letter captures so beautifully and eloquently the meaning of leadership that I asked Eric for permission to share it here.
June 18, 2021
Dear Mr. Fxxxxx
For almost an entire year, I have rolled these words around in my head, wondering how I could possibly satisfactorily put into words what your leadership at has meant to our family
Eleven years ago Ava walked through those doors and six years later William took the baton and followed his sister’s footsteps. I’m sure our family’s elementary school years were no more or less remarkable than any other student that has made their way through the halls of FRS. What has been remarkable, every step of the way, though – has been your incredible leadership style, and the connection I’ve personally personally witnessed you make with every single child and their family who has been in your care along the way. It is unmatched by any educator or administrator I’ve ever encountered, and there is simply no way I, or any of us, could ever thank you in a big enough way to match your service.
I could refer to specific incidents like the time I watched you pull a child from the bus line to help clean his shoe because you noticed they had stepped in… er “something” on his way to school (lol). You could’ve sent him off to the side to handle it on his own, or sent him to another staffer to deal with it but you didn’t. YOU handled it, and you did so kindly and discreetly, and made that child’s day a little bit better by starting him off right. I could feel pages and pages of the countless interactions I have witnessed between you and students, you and parents, you and staffer. It has all been a pleasure to witness, not just because people like you make the world better in general, but because as a parent, sometimes it’s hard at school in the morning… Sometimes “just because” but sometimes it’s because in my kids’ school careers (so far) we’ve witnessed horrors like Sandy Hook or just went through natural disasters like Superstorm Sandy and then… Well, a global pandemic. Yet somehow you’ve managed to create a safe haven for my children to come to and feel loved, and seen, and safe. It’s my personal philosophy that children can only learn effectively when they feel safe and loved, and that’s exactly what you’ve delivered again and again and again.
In our house, the Tooth Fairy brings gold coins because, we all know, fairies deal and gold!Fairies are magical, just as childhood should always be filled with magic. Please take this “gold” coin. Keep it in your pocket or in your desk or on the shelf or a coin jar. Wherever you put it, please let it serve as a reminder that YOU are a keeper of magic . You keep magic alive in the halls of FRS, and my family will forever be grateful to you for that and so very much more.
As our family sadly says goodbye to FRS, please know that we will always look back on our years here with nothing but pure fondness. Thank you thank you thank you for everything. Your ever-presence will be sorely missed by this mom.
Wishing you all the best
Melanie and family