Eight years ago I wrote this. Starting today, I’ll be on to something different as my time with Discovery Education comes to a close.
I recall eight years ago people questioning if I should leave a great job in a school district to give up a pension to work for a for-profit company that is certainly much less secure. I don’t regret it for a minute. It has been eight years full of joy and learning and so much more.
My duties were many and varied. I hated being asked “what do you do” as it didn’t fit in any box. When I said I helped build community, it usually required lengthy follow-up and context. The easiest thing to explain to people was that I did a lot of speaking. My rough estimates would suggest I presented at over 120 conferences and events to well over 50,000 people. But beyond that, I spent time in districts and classrooms supporting them in their daily work. I helped create content and even helped with sales. All these experiences have helped me understand the complexities and challenges of running a business as well as running a school district. I spent time with work everyone from classroom teachers to Superintendents. My work took me all across Canada, the US and even the UK.
But the best part of my job was the connections I made and learning from world-class educators. Typically my work took had me working with the most innovative and passionate leaders and teachers. I started naming all the people my work has connected me with and I got to over 100 before I realized that was a futile exercise. I can name teachers, principals, district support people and Superintendents from across the continent that I’ve not only learned from but have developed friendships with. There’s hardly a city I would travel to where I couldn’t send a quick message and have an engaging dinner date with a dear friend. While many may trash and criticize our education system my bias has me advocating for educators who are doing amazing work despite some of the systematic challenges we face.
Finally, I had the great privilege of working with some of the finest human beings on the planet. Unlike my days in a school district, the relationships I built here were much more like family. When you spend so many days and evenings and time outside of work, you can’t help but get close to people. Obviously this could be a challenge if you don’t like each other but I can honestly say that everyone I worked with for any length of time was simply awesome. These people were my teachers and friends and for that, I’ll be forever grateful.
While this chapter of my life closes, I’m looking at a new one and am excited about exploring a few different options. But as I look back at my time with Discovery Education I think about the words of a famous student.
Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.Ferris Bueller
I never took my job for granted and savoured the moments. It was a great privilege to do important and lasting work. Thank you for all of you that made these last eight years the best of my professional career.