They say “time flies when you’re having fun.” And as I begin to reflect on my time as principal here at West Langley, this cliche definitely holds true. The past three and a half years have truly flown by, in the best ways possible. And as I begin the transition to a new chapter in my career, I wanted to take the opportunity in this final 5 Things To ROAR About of 2014 to say thank you.
Thank You Parents: I can remember coming into an assembly in the spring of 2011 in anticipation of moving to West Langley as principal in September. I was nervous and excited about this new opportunity. And before I even got to the office, I was greeted by several parents, welcoming me to the school and asking if there was anything I needed. And this was before I even officially started. And that sense of welcome and support has never waned. I have always valued the powerful one on one conversations I have had with parents, specifically around the learning of your students. Your passion for your own children is inspiring and you have always been supportive of what we are doing at the school. I will miss chatting football and hockey. I will miss joking around with all of you. I will miss your commitment to our school. I will take with me great comfort in knowing that West Langley and its staff will continue to have your powerful support.
Thank You PAC: As the principal of a school, going to PAC meetings and working closely with PAC executive fall under “duties as assigned” in our contract. And often it can be a burden that adds stress to the job. I can honestly say however, I have never had more fun working with a group of parents as I have had here at West Langley. Your passion for students is unparalleled however it’s your ability to have fun while supporting the school that I will miss most. Those once-a-month meetings were full of great conversations but more importantly lots of laughs. Thank you to Wendy Southam, Christine Thorpe and the rest of the PAC executive for your support of me and our staff in moving learning forward at West Langley. And thank you for always having that positive spirit that just makes life so much more enjoyable on a day to day basis. I will miss working with all of you.
Thank You Staff: It is just this simple … I have never had the honour and privilege of working with a group of educators who are more passionate about student success in my entire career. Your dedication and work ethic to create the best learning environment for students is second to none. When I came to West Langley three and a half years ago, things were already amazing. And yet, even in the midst of being an awesome school, you welcomed suggestions on how to move it forward even more. You accepted my “gentle” nudges and asked good questions about educational ideas, all while maintaining a high level of respect for each other and myself. Coming to West Langley and working with each of you was inspiring and invigorating. I will deeply miss your professionalism, your passion and most of all, your ability to remember that laughter is the best medicine. I believe schools need to be lighthearted places with deep moral missions. And you have made West Langley that kind of place. I look forward to staying connected with you professionally and am thankful for the friendships I have made during my time at the school.
Thank You Cathy: While I could single out several people at West Langley who have had a profound impact on my excellent time there, there is no one person who has effected me on a daily basis more than our amazing secretary, Cathy Swerdan. Her support of me as an administrator and as a person has been unconditional and powerful. When I needed help with a problem, I could always stick my head out my office (or more likely yell out the door) to get some sage advice from Mrs Swerdan. And if I needed to vent or celebrate, she is always there with a welcome ear to listen. Cathy took a deep interest in the families at West Langley and was able to contribute information to conversations about students learning that were profound and greatly useful. I will truly miss working with Cathy. Over the past three and a half years, you have been so much more than my secretary, you have been my friend. And everytime my office gets a little messy (okay a lot messy) or I need a Tylenol, I will think of you. Over the past couple weeks, people have commented to me on what an impact I have had on West Langley. And I appreciate the kind words. But I know that the real heart and soul of West Langley Elementary is you. Thank you.
Thank You Students: When I was in grade 10 as an outdoor school counsellor in North Van, it was the students that I worked with that made me decide to go into education. They have always been what brings me into work every day. And these children at West Langley have simply been the best. From the first day I set foot in the building they have welcomed me with open arms. They work hard, show great respect and have an amazing passion for learning. While there were many moments, one of the highlight examples of this was our first ever Inquiry Fair. Watching our students light up with excitement as they explained their Genius Hour inquiry projects while their peers actively engaged in the learning nearly brought tears to my eyes. And this excitement for life and learning was evident on a daily basis. I will truly miss the one-on-one conversations which each of you, the jokes and laughing that goes along with learning and your willingness to put up with me breaking into song based on something you randomly said. I am grateful that all of your energy and spirit comes with me wherever I go. I am truly honoured and privileged to have been your principal at West Langley. I look forward to following you as you continue to pursue your hopes and dreams.
I am going to miss this place. As I have said numerous times, West Langley is special and getting to be principal here has been an honour. In transitioning with Mr. Oliver, I have stressed the need for him to really soak in the awesomeness of this school. It doesn’t happen that often in our careers that we get to be in such a place. I am glad I was smart enough to soak in all that West Langley is from the first moment I got here because now I am full of amazing memories to take with me for my entire life. THANK YOU!