Thank You Greater Clark

@MrBrettClark 0 Comments

Thank you Greater Clark for allowing me to serve you, your students, your educators, your staff, your families, and your community for the past four and a half years. It has truly been one of the greatest joys of my life. However, July 21 2017, will be my last day. Before I get into what I'm doing next, let me first try to capture what this opportunity has meant to me and my family, and to say as many thank yous as I can come up with.

When I came to Greater Clark to serve as the director of technology I had no administrator experience. I had spent 9 years in the classroom as a secondary math teacher and 18 short months as an eLearning coach. I knew just barely more than nothing about running an IT department and how infrastructure needed to be set up and maintained. I just had a passion for leveraging technology for learning and transforming teaching. Greater Clark took a risk in hiring this 32 year old kid and my family was forever changed.

Over the past 4.5 years I have seen our district embrace change. I'm incredibly proud of the 1:1 initiative we rolled out with chromebooks my first 6 months on the job. I remember that almost everyone I spoke with was convinced we were going with iPads but I saw the potential in chromebooks to bring equity and access to 8,000 students. Where we could only afford iPads for about 3,000 students at most. At the time we rolled out the chromebooks we were somewhere in the top 10 in chromebook rollouts in the nation. Actually, this showed up in my TimeHop today. It was day one of our first ever chromebook rollout day. We rolled out 6,000+ chromebooks and saw 15,000 people (students and guardians) in 3 days.

I'm proud of the four amazing eLearning Coaches I worked with on countless projects. In no certain order, Katie, JT, Melissa, and Jessica are four of the most amazing educators I've ever had the privilege to work with. I remember just about everything from my interviews with Katie, JT, and Melissa. Jessica joined our team after JT was promoted into an assistant principal role. With each one of them it was within the first few minutes of their interviews that I knew I had to have them on the team. I can honestly say there was never a moment when I regretted having any of them on the team. There are too many stories to tell in this space. Just know I'm a better person because of these people. 

I think about partnerships with different companies that helped us put in the right equipment in our classrooms, the ceilings, and in our data closets. Empower Learning, Matrix, and RTI, just to name a few. The progress we made in our WiFi and overall speed of our internet connection. Honestly, when I think about the age of the equipment when I first started to what we have now...

As all of you know, it's not about the equipment, it's about the people and Greater Clark has some tremendous people. I was telling somebody the other day that the things I'm most proud of, I had very little to do with. I just said asked questions, said yes, and tried to support the people closest to the students the best way that I could. 

The teachers at Greater Clark are some of the most caring and passionate educators I know. I love seeing what they did with what we put in their hands. Seriously, most the ideas the eLearning Coaches and I presented were nothing compared to where classroom teachers took them. It didn't matter if you were walking into 5th grade classrooms at Wilson, ELA classrooms at River Valley, the Media Center at New Washington, or hanging with the Chrome Ninjas at JJ, you were going to see classrooms that empower students. Thank you teachers for letting me into your classrooms. Thank you for giving me the chance to serve you and your students. Thank you for sharing your genius with me.

I have worked as a classroom teacher and served in central office. However, I've never been a principal and for that I am thankful. I'm not sure how they do what they do and stay sane. I watched as our principals navigate supporting teachers, implementing initiatives we came up with at central office, work with their families, and run the business side of their schools.  Not to mention the 2,325 weekly meetings they go to. Thank you principals for allowing me to work side-by-side with you. I learned so much from each of you about how to lead. 

Now to my central office friends. It was an honor to serve as a district administrator with all of you. Balancing out the vision we had for the district with the needs of individual schools and situations is no joke. You try to do what's best for all while honoring what's best for each individual. You have people that are grateful for the work you do but also have to address the concerns of the many. Most of the time those upset have valid points but you always remind yourself that none of us are as important as all of us. Thank you for allowing me to grow in this position. For the grace you gave me when I messed up and for all of the support. 

I can't go on without thanking the classified staff in our district. When most people think of school employees they think of teachers, counselors, and principals first and they might think of bus drivers, custodians, and cafeteria works. However, about half of our staff is made up of classified employees. They are the unsung heros of our schools. In many ways they are the ones that make all of this work. Thank you for all of your hard work. Even though it's not always talked about, I promise it doesn't go unnoticed. 

In that group of classified employees is the team that I was honored to lead. Our IT team is just amazing and I will miss working with them on a daily basis. When asked about how we prioritize the massive work on our plate they all can tell you the same answer. Our number one goal is to make sure technology failure doesn't get in the way of learning. When looking at the needs in our buildings the ones that are currently impacting instruction are the ones that we take care of first. Thank you for showing me how much you care about our kids. Thank you for taking me in and helping me learn about infrastructure of a school. Thank you for never holding the fact that I am not qualified to do your jobs against me. Thank you for making leading look easy. It's easy to lead a group of people that always want to do what's best and that are all working together as a team. 

Thank you for the eLearning Conferences (and all of you who presented and served at those conferences), the YouTube Videos, the Digital Citizenship Certification. Thank you for being there for my family when Ruth was sick. Thank you for all of the learning, the laughs, the challenges, the successes, and the failures. Thank you Greater Clark for the memories. 

I'm sure I missed some things. How can you capture the greatest job you've ever had in a blog post?

Now I know what you're thinking, if you made it this far. If this job is so great then why are you leaving and where are you going? Simply put, it's the right time and this is the right opportunity. 

I'm happy to announce that I am joining the team at Riverside Technologies Inc (RTI). We are a technology solutions company. I'm excited to partner with schools and businesses to provide the right technology solutions, provide great support, and professional development. I left the classroom because I was interested in the opportunity to lead teachers. I left my role as an eLearning Coach and became the Director of Technology because I wanted to lead a district. Now I'm leaving that role for this one because it will give me an opportunity to work with multiple school districts, to branch out into the private sector, and to grow as a leader. 

I'll still be blogging, I'll still be working with schools, and I'll still be dreaming about how we can work together to unleash learning.