For many in the field of education, July 1 is a significant date. The calendar turns over to a new year. It is somewhat ironic that we then wait until the fourth to light off the fireworks, but perhaps it is our optimistically cautious response as modern-day educators. However, it is fitting that the start is a celebration. Just as with the traditional New Year festivities we take some time to plan
and dream about what is yet to come.
So, a belated welcome to 2022-23 and a happy new school year! My name is Rod Carnill and I am the newly appointed executive director of VSTE. While the July 1 start to my new year has passed by, the Labor Day holiday is over and summer comes to an end, for me and for VSTE this transitional journey brings a significant change, a change in leadership, and an opportunity for growth. Upon hearing the news of my appointment as VSTE’s new executive director, a colleague replied Cresce sempre verso l'alto which roughly translates as always growing upward. I, as well as other lifelong learners, embrace this phrase and its inherent challenges.
Contemplating what that will mean for us as a community of educators requires that we measure and assess what we have learned over the past year (or two) and then apply that learning to set goals for the coming year. As I attended the ISTE gathering in New Orleans, I heard CEO Richard Culatta speak of returning the joy to learning. He spoke of how hard everyone had worked during the trying times educators, parents and students have faced since March of 2020. He went on to say that the next challenge was to bring back the joy of learning. He wasn’t trying to overlook or downplay the trauma or hardship but to acknowledge it and encourage us to grow from it. Returning the joy for learners by nature should also encompass restoring the joy for educators as well.
It is my belief that we must approach this with intention and purpose. Ever mindful that this should not be seen as a momentary response or a temporary measure. This should be a thorough and responsible application of the lessons learned and should be essential in informing our plans, and our aspirations for the coming days, months, and even years. The challenge is to remind ourselves of the importance of joy in our daily tasks, even those that are exacting and seemingly unending.
When asked about advice for K-12 leaders, CoSN spotlight member, and school district Chief Technology Officer, Tony Harvey replied, “Hold on to both your perseverance and your drive. When you get to the end result, it is always worth the journey." Being mindful of the joys we encounter each day and counting our blessings is what helps us overcome adversity and maintain a sense of perseverance and drive. I hope you will be counting the blessings during this school year’s journey, especially during the challenging times ahead. For me, that is where I can best appreciate the joy brought to me and in turn do my best to bring joy to others.
Be well, make good happen, and share your joy!