With Christmas over and the New Year almost upon us, thought I would take a moment to look back at the year that just was. :Like them all, it had highs and lows and left memories both good and bad.
In digging through records, I find that I drove more than 11,000 miles to make speeches, visit schools, attend board meetings and do other things involving education. Rambled from one end of the state to the other, as well as to some other states. Made 14 speeches, wrote more than 200 blog posts that were “hit” more than 112,000 times on this blog. I am indeed grateful for each and every one who drops by to read them.
It was the year that for some unknown reason I ran for a seat on the Montgomery county school board. This became a far different adventure than I imagined it would be and I am still dismayed at things I experienced. I lost. Big time.
Then in ironies of ironies, I was appointed to serve three months on this very board. That too was interesting and mostly fortified my notions about a lot of things that take place in K 12 education. And made me understand even better that the gap between the classroom and the central office is VERY WIDE. And I don’t consider that a good thing.
It was the year my dear friend, Martha Peek, retired as superintendent of Mobile County schools and 46 years of experience walked out the door. She is definitely at the top of the heap in my book and has forgotten more about the reality of teaching children than most of today’s so-called “leaders” will ever know. As us country folks sometimes say, “He just got above his raising.” Martha didn’t.
I met countless teachers and principals who face tremendous challenges every day and plow ahead with amazing resolve. Unfortunately, they live in a world that is far removed from the one imagined by so many who are making education policy.
Definitely one of the highlights was being at the University of West Alabama the night of May third when the first 13 graduates of the Black Belt Teacher Corps honored me with a special presentation. As I wrote about the event, I was ALMOST at a loss for words.
I will always consider this recognition a great honor. And being able to play a small role in the birth of this program will always be special.
UWA President Ken Tucker and Dean of Education Jan Miller are good and dedicated people who strongly believe actions speak louder than words. The Black Belt region is lucky to have them.
I often tell a group of teachers that I honestly believe they are doing the Good Lord’s work because of their willingness to work with children. I say that with all sincerity and was glad that I made new friends with many of them in 2018. And I look forward to meeting others in 2019.