Wednesday, February 19, 2014

A True Friend

Throughout my lifetime, I have had the privilege  (dang, I had to spell check that word) of living in many different places and locations.  I grew up in a small town of 5,000 in Northern California and then moved to a "huge city" in Southern California where my high school was almost the size of my small sleepy hometown. I went to college on the Central Coast of CA and then moved to Alabama for a few years.  Each of these towns and cities has its own special place in my heart.  Something I have always loved about moving around is what a move does to relationships and friendships. New relationships. Old relationships. Confusing relationships. Hard relationships. Special relationships. Savored relationships.   

Today, on my drive home, I reflected on a relationship.  Specifically, I reflected on my friendship with Jenny.  Jenny and I used to teach together.  She and I have had great friend chemistry for years.  We have laughed together, we have cried together. We have volunteered together and traveled together. We have agreed on many things and we have disagreed on others. Jenny and I get vulnerable with each other. Sometimes, it can be intense.  The reason I was reflecting on my friendship with Jenny is that today, she spent the day at Penngrove with me.  She has the week "off" for Ski Week and she decided to take a day of her vacation to get down in the trenches with me at my school.  Knowing that Jenny has her admin credential, I was particularly excited to have her perspective and "lens" on campus for the day.

Jenny observed our weekly assembly (shoot, we forgot to debrief about that Derb!), she visited 14 classrooms with me, she checked student work during 3rd grade spelling, she encouraged some of our fragile students, and she even spent 30 minutes counseling and talking with a kindergartner who made a really "bad choice" so that I could finish the weekly school newsletter.  On top of that, Jenny spent time chatting and connecting with many of my staff members whom she had met previously at conferences or school events.  Jenny took notes for me as we walked from room to room about campus improvement projects I want to pursue.  All along the way, she shared feedback with me that will make me a better leader.  At times Jenny was encouraging, at times she was harsh. You can't get that kind of feedback from just anyone. It's a gift.

As I pulled into the driveway this evening, I got a call from Jenny who was just checking in. "I wish I could have done more to help you today," she said.  I sat there stunned.  Thinking. Just reflecting on how lucky I am to have a such a friend.  If you ever find yourself surrounded by a person or a group of people that "get you" both personally and professionally, savor every second of it.  Jenny reminds me of what it means to Give. Risk. Learn. Trust. That kind of relationship is a gift. That kind of a relationship is real. 

Monday, February 10, 2014

Just a Quick One...

It's Monday, February 10th.  Our school is out today in observance of Lincoln's birthday.  Two back to back three day weekends - SUPER! Usually, on days "off", I pack my calendar with as many things as I possibly can.  I have a sickness like that.  Today however, I only allowed myself to calendar three things.  

#1 A date with myself at one of my favorite local coffee shops: Marin Coffee Roasters in San Anselmo.  I love this little town of San Anselmo.  The sweet little shops, the bicyclists (minus the spandex), the cute old men reading their newspapers on the streets, it's just adorable.  Today's goal at the coffee shop has been to catch up on my "personal" emails.  I have been really bad lately at neglecting my personal emails and focusing too much on the work emails. Although I did LOVE the email from my Superintendent this weekend asking me a Twitter question.  #ifeltspecial 

#2 My next stop of the day is Grilly's Mexican Food in Fairfax.  Best chicken quesadilla in Marin.  I've already placed my "to go" order and I'm headed there in just a moment before dropping in on one of my besties at Brookside Elementary School!  For all you teachers, you KNOW how exciting it is to have real food from the "outside world" brought to you at school so today, I'm making @jenny_derby's dreams come true! If I'm lucky, I think I might even catch a few minutes in her classroom of "family life". #5thgradeexcitement I'm looking forward to hanging with her students, seeing their hard work plastered all over the walls of their classroom and then spending time with Jenny and some of my old colleagues during their lunch hour.

#3 Warriors Game Baby! Tonight, I'm heading to Oakland with my wonderful office manager, Nicole.  We're going to enjoy the perks of the Oracle Arena thanks to a generous friend who scored me some fantastic tickets.  I've been to a few Warriors games this season and I've enjoyed every single one of them.  However, tonight's game is going to be a highlight because I get to spend uninterrupted time with Nicole.  Nicole stepped in as our office manager this October after our beloved Margaret retired.  Margaret had been the office manager at Penngrove for 20 years so you can imagine the void she left and the wisdom she took with her.  That being said, Nicole has been a boost of youthful, exhilarating energy who compliments my style of leadership quite nicely. We are a great team and I rely on her more than she probably knows.  Nicole and I rarely have time to sit and talk like normal adults without interruptions and knocks on the door.  No really, I'm not kidding.  One Friday evening, we locked the office doors, turned off the lights and sat UNDER her desk talking for a solid 30 minutes.  I don't know what I'll do with 5 hours of Nicole and Amy time but I'm really excited to treat one of my hardest working employees to a night of fun and adventure, and hey, who doesn't love a little Steph Curry right? #30 

This post definitely isn't as flashy, intense, or inspirational as some of my other posts have been but reflecting on today, brings me back to the title of my blog. Give. Risk. Learn. Trust. Today, I'm giving myself a break. I'm giving my time and energy to a couple people in my life who I value.  I'm risking a harder week ahead because I'm refusing to "work" today. I'm learning to do less, because sometimes, less really is more.  And I'm trusting that in the end, everything is going to come out alright.