It’s Not Goodbye, It’s See You Later

on Jul 02, 2013 in Blog by

After nearly two years, Friday June 28, 2013 was my last official day at West Wind Education Policy Inc.  On July 1, I started my new position as Associate Principal at Washington High School in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.  Although I’m thrilled to start this new chapter of my life, it is bittersweet.

On Sunday afternoon, I spent time in my office for the last time. I packed my belongings, taking my graduation plaque down from the wall.  I can honestly say that I’m not sure I would have graduated had I not found a home at West Wind.

As I packed my books, I thought to myself how much I’d learned about the national discussion regarding education and how grateful I was to have played a small part.  It is the information, knowledge, and perspective about the need to give teachers feedback that can help them grow professionally, which in turn will help more students achieve as well as the value that teachers and school leaders absolutely are an invaluable part of the conversation about educator effectiveness that have helped me to earn this new position.

I know that to leave classroom/building educators out of the process undoubtedly means that we run the serious risk of creating systems that are not as strong and do not necessarily meet the goals of ensuring educators’ continuous growth and development, which is, after all the heart of the matter.

As I turned off the lights to my office for the last time, I couldn’t help feeling that though goodbyes are difficult—which is probably why I chose to pack my office alone—I know that I will never really leave.  Today, I am stronger, more confident, and more capable person and mother than I was when I first came here in August 2011.

I thank all the women of West Wind, past and present—Circe, Bonnie, Deanna, Deb, Sally, Mandi, Alyssa, and Tina—for welcoming me in and becoming my friends and colleagues.  I have learned so much from each of you.  I wish you success and happiness on your own journeys.  Though I say goodbye today, please know that this goodbye is really a see you later.  I look forward to continuing our friendships and perhaps continuing the work together in one capacity or another.

One Comment

  • Deb Hansen says:

    Valerie, I hope we hear about how you use what you have learned about education policy as you work directly with students, teachers, and school leaders. Have fun with the immediate interaction with teaching, learning, and students… That is where all of our priorities should aim, and I know that is where your heart is.

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