Two of those that come to mind are Suzanne Shall and Lourdes Smith, who each in her own way has really provided the glue that keeps everything together. They are the supports that strengthen us and the ones that we turn to with our questions, when we are anxious, and when we are frustrated. They are also the ones that we want to celebrate with when we've tried something new that works! Suzanne, who had been our Assistant Principal, left Chets this year to be Principal at her own school (how fortunate are those teachers!) but her influence remains. Lourdes is our Dean of Students and what these two have in common is their energy, commitment, and dedication. They hit the road running the minute they walk in the school door. They work hard every minute of every day. They are often the last to leave as the sun goes down and too often with an armload of "stuff" that still has to be done. They are both super organized and if they tell you they will do something, you can guarantee that it will be done. If you ask a question, they respond immediately and, considering their jobs, that is miraculous. They follow up and they do not hide from the difficult assignments. They both can see the big picture but are also just as engaged with the details. They care about children and speak with parents with respect and ease, but they also really care about teachers. They remember and hold on to, even though they are now administrators, what it was like to walk in the shoes of a teacher. They hold teachers accountable for what is expected, but they are also the first to realize when too much is being asked. They both started as teachers at Chets, were both inclusion teachers, left for a while (Lourdes to have a family and Suzanne home to PA for a while to be closer to her family), but both returned to Chets and stepped into Administrative roles. They both have supportive nuclear families who love and adore them and put up with their need to do their job well.
|Lourdes Smith clowning around.|
In other ways Lourdes and Suzanne are complete opposites. Suzanne is a tall striking blonde and Lourdes is a petite Cuban who wears heels to be taller than most fifth graders. Lourdes speaks both English and Spanish with ease. She is a safe harbor for our Spanish speaking families and their children. I can't imagine what we would do without her. She is as gifted at talking to the innocent kindergartner as she is to the savvy street-smart fifth grader. She speaks her mind at the Leadership table, when asked. She's quick to celebrate others and to recognize those that take risks or those that are going "over and above." Lourdes leads with passion and by example, solidifying relationships everywhere she goes. She is loved and adored by our staff, by our families and by the children.
|Family is a priority.|
|Suzanne reads to a group of children.|
A school like Chets Creek is really about the synergy of the whole. No one person is able to produce results alone. All of the pieces have to be there and they all have to fit together. It's the leader's role to make sure that happens. To be a great school is one thing but to maintain is something entirely different and as Jim Collins wrote in How the Mighty Fall, high flyers can't begin to believe their own press! They have to continue to strive and to climb mountains and never stop at the plateaus. So... here's to the many mountains still to climb!