I no longer post to this blog, but you can follow my travels and adventures in retirement by clicking here.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

I'm healthy and still walking every day!

It came to my attention that some folks think I might be retiring for health reasons.  I’m healthy, and I’m still walking over 10,000 steps and 5 miles each day. My heart is in better shape than ever after the aortic valve replacement last fall.  

I still love my pedometer that talks to my computer and my cell phone.  It even sends me badges, text messages,  and a weekly report on my progress (see a portion of the report in the graphic below).  I feel great, but I still need to watch more closely what I eat (doesn't everyone?). 

So, I’m healthy and I want to go on a few adventures and accomplish a few goals in retirement. 

Only one more day until my retirement experience begins!

My weekly stats for 4/21 to 4/27

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

My favorite activity as a superintendent…

As I prepare to retire on May 1, I’ve taken some time to clean out my office.  Between cleaning out drawers and gathering personal items, I’ve spent a little time in reflection. 

I personally enjoyed classroom observations the most as a superintendent, and I took a few minutes to count how many of them I have made and documented over the years (2007 – 2014).  Here’s the count:

  • 2007-08               126 Classroom Observations
  • 2008-09               117 Classroom Observations
  • 2009-10               127 Classroom Observations
  • 2010-11               137 Classroom Observations
  • 2011-12               135 Classroom Observations
  • 2012-13               142 Classroom Observations
  • 2013-14*               68 Classroom Observations

That’s a total of 852 classroom observations during my tenure of seven years as superintendent in Oconee County.  I extend my appreciation to our teachers and principals for allowing me to see them in action.  You helped keep me happy in this role as an educator!

*I was unable to complete visits during the 1st semester due to heart valve replacement surgery.  

Friday, April 25, 2014

Artists on the Green 2014

Click to enlarge.

Click to enlarge.

I was able to get by today and see a few of the artists in action at Ravenel Elementary's 26th annual Artists on the Green.  We truly appreciate all of those who shared his/her talent with RES students, and it was obvious that the students enjoyed the various sessions.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

My final classroom visits before retirement

I had two remaining schools to visit this semester.  I visited both Tamassee-Salem Elementary and Tamassee-Salem Middle/High today.

My classroom visits at TSES were great, and I saw very creative lessons using technology.  There can be mishaps with technology, but the 1st grade teacher was able to monitor and adjust to be successful with the lesson she’d planned.  I enjoyed my time, and I got a hug from many as I made by exit.  The last teacher I visited was one of the first I visited when I became superintendent in 2007.

I made the short drive to visit middle school classes at TSM/HS.  The schedule called for me to visit 6th grade (3 classes) and an 8th grade math class.  It’s like I have come full circle because I started my career as a 6th grade social studies teacher, and my last fulltime teaching experience was as an 8th grade teacher.  So, it was a great way to end my classroom visits for the year (and my career), and I appreciate the hard work of these teachers to engage the students.
Since becoming superintendent in 2007, I have completed 852 classroom observations and I’ve loved it.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

“Smoke and Mirrors” from Columbia

noun plural
: something that seems good but is not real or effective and that is done especially to take attention away from something else that is embarrassing or unpleasant

School districts around the state are in financial trouble.  The state is not funding schools at the appropriate base student cost as required by the law (Education Finance Act). 

The Greenville News highlights this problem in today’s paper (click here to read).  However, you can see the “smoke and mirrors” game by simply looking at our exhibit for the FY15 budget in Oconee County (click here). 

The FY15 budget has a new finance funding line for poverty.  You can see in the exhibit (use link above or graphic below) that funding isn’t being increased.  They simply reduced the per student funding in existing programs and added that same amount for “poverty.” 

Here's the complex formula for SDOC:  $1.5 million for poverty weighting -  $1.5 million for student category funding = $0 increase in per student funding

I think this strategy fits the dictionary definition of a smoke and mirrors strategy. 
Click to enlarge

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Tipping my hat...

I'm going to retiring soon, and here's the message I shared with SDOC staff this morning:

One of my favorite quotes is from baseball great Willie Stargell. He played his entire career, an impressive twenty years, with the Pittsburg Pirates. He stated, “I always said that when it was time to retire, I would know it, and I would just tip my hat to the crowds.

Well, I’ve had a few more years than Willie Stargell in my career. I’m now in my 36th “season” as an educator in South Carolina. I feel I know when it’s time to tip my hat to the crowds, and I’ve asked the School District of Oconee County Board of Trustees to honor my request to enter retirement. 

Here are two paragraphs in my letter I shared with the Board of Trustees this evening:
For more than 35 years I have had a wonderful opportunity to serve in three public school districts in our state. I count myself fortunate to be ending my career and entering retirement after serving in a great school district like that of SDOC. 

I extend my appreciation to you for giving me this opportunity and for your continued support as I endeavored to serve the youngest citizens of Oconee County. I am grateful to have worked with talented teachers, caring administrators, and dedicated support staff members during my nine year tenure as an Oconee district level administrator. I have also felt embraced and supported for the past seven years as superintendent by the community as I worked to fulfill your charge of making sure that “Education is Everybody’s Business.”
I enjoyed the last nine years of my career at the district office in SDOC; however, my favorite activity has been to be in classrooms to see teachers and students in action and to take part in many school activities. Thank you for helping me keep my roots firmly planted in our schools!

So, I’ll soon be tipping my hat to the staff of our school system on May 1. Stargell also stated, “Life is one big transition,” and I’m personally excited about this next big transition for me.

Monday, April 21, 2014

When the circus descends...

Conservative commentator and writer David Brooks had a provocative op-ed piece this weekend on the hoopla surrounding the Common Core of State Standards.  You can read it by clicking here. 

Welcome back to everyone from the break!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

SC EOC: Are SC students prepared for success in a global economy?

The SC Education Oversight Committee sent out this graphic (you can also click here) regarding SC students' readiness for a more competitive world.  Progress is being made, but we're quite a ways from the goals that have been set by this agency.  

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

The blog will return soon!