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Posts Tagged ‘dee schuman’

Short and sweet today.

If Your Actions Inspire People to Dream More, Learn More, Do More and Become More, Then You Are A Leader ~  John Quincy Adams

There are people in my life about whom these words could have been written.  The circumstances for each are different and the leadership is often born by walking through the fire of adversity and coming out stronger. May God bless them as well as those who come to mind for you.

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It’s been quite a while since I have blogged. The days at work have been full with lots of meetings after school. I’d forgotten just how little time one has when working full time – no complaint, just fact. I’m still re-learning how to make it all coordinate.

It also seems a bit odd writing in a blog that is titled in part “a journey through unemployment” when one is employed. I shan’t let that bother me, however, as I have felt that many of my comments have been about the common experience, the universal truth, the “everyman” aspect of our lives that goes beyond a particular event, like unemployment, though that was the inspiration for me to put word to paper.

I started out wanting to talk about this last day of the year and was curious to learn when January became the first month since I remember learning somewhere, sometime that the year used to start in March (hence, September being 7th month, etc., through December as 10th).

Off to Wikipedia I went and learned that January has been used as the start of the year since 45 BC and was named for Janus is the god of gates, doors, doorways, beginnings, endings and time, a most fitting identity. He is often depicted with two faces; one looking back in time while the other face looks forward.

I look back on my year. While there are certainly more happy times than sad, I am ready to move on. I am sure yours looks about the same. Some of you have had more joy than you ever expected in one year; others, more sadness. Some may be welcoming a new baby into the world this very evening and some of you may be saying your goodbyes. Some have celebrated glowing reports after months of fighting illness. Some are just beginning that road as the doctors’ reports begin to come in. The list is endless, and only you know where you are on the continuum of life.

As I ponder all of that, is there perhaps some deeper meaning to the need to welcome in the New Year with fireworks, loud noises and cheering and to do it precisely at the midnight hour?

Do we need a moment in time when we can say, “the old is past away, and the new is just beginning”? Perhaps we do.

I wish you peace, love, joy, and especially hope as we welcome in 2011.

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There’s a small cove along the Piscataqua River that separates New Hampshire from Maine. It sits on the east side of the Spaulding Turnpike with a path along the landside and a number of sailboats moored away from the river’s strong current. I’m told that those moorings are rented from the State of NH at some ridiculously low amount per year and that they have been passed down through families because of that.

My breath is often taken away as I come around the entrance ramp and momentarily see that cove at about a 30-degree angle, something not really visible when traveling either north or south on the Spaulding Turnpike. The angle and speed of travel would make trying to take a photo not only silly but also dangerous, although often I wish I could.

Occasionally the sun is so bright it blinds my eyes for a moment. Sometimes there is a bit of fog settling just about the water and light enough to still see the boats. My favorite is when the tide is way out so that the land is exposed and wet, the sun shining from the east. Sometimes the fog is quite thick making the boats appear ghostlike.

From my view yesterday, most of the boats are now gone. Very soon, the trees will take on their fall finery and then shake the leaves away with the winter chill. The view will be different but no less beautiful. Today’s view was very merely gray as there was fog; but while it was hidden, I stand secure in my knowledge and experience that the sun is still rising in the east.

Nonetheless, every morning is a new chance to view Mother Nature doing her work. And so it is with our lives. Each and every day there are examples of God’s love for us. Every day has its own blessings, some repetitive, some unique. It is for that reason that each Seacoast Peers for Careers meeting involved an opportunity to share a blessing for the week as a chance to stop and pause and reflect.

Yet again, I reflect on the words from the Book of Lamentations (3:22-23): “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases. His mercies never come to an end. They are new every morning, new every morning. Great is Thy faithfulness.”

… and I raise my heart in thankfulness …

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“I want to talk to you about your job …” So began a phone call from my Superintendent a couple of weeks ago. The call came late on a Friday afternoon, shortly after we had interviewed for the other 80% technologist position that would be at the K-3 school. The candidate the selection committee had selected was dynamite – friendly, visionary, knowledgeable, with some specific experience that was right in line with district goals. She’d be a great asset to the developing technology team and would be a great fit at that grade level. I was looking forward to working with her and was delighted to later learn she said, “Yes.” (BTW, she starts September 27.)

After having been back at work just a short time, my heart skipped a beat at the Super’s words. My response of, “Oh???” was followed with a, “Oh, your job’s not in jeopardy. I’d like to ask you if you’d consider going full-time.”

I was pleased to hear that my skills and talents would bring good value to the district. I told my boss that I would have to talk with my husband and pray about whether this was the right move for me. The 80% would have given me one day off per week with Bob.

When he arrived home that afternoon, I told him about my phone call. His response was quick. He looked me squarely in the eye and said, “Are you having a good time doing what you are doing?” My eyes immediately filled with happy tears as I replied, “You know I am.” “Well, then,” he said. “There’s your answer.”

I emailed the Super on Sunday after I felt absolutely sure this was what I was to do and realized that the offer could not be finalized till it went before the School Committee the way the move from 60% to 80% had. So that meant sitting tight till Tuesday, September 21, when hiring the new 80% technologist and moving my position to 100% would be on the agenda. I opted to attend the meeting so I could hear any of the discussion and was dumbfounded when the proposal was tabled for Executive Session. OMG, what’s happening?

Although I opted not to stay till the end of the evening, as there were other items that needed to be discussed in Executive Session that might take an extensive period of time, I was delighted to learn the following afternoon that the proposal had passed with no issue.

So, after two years, I have been returned to a full-time teaching position very much like the one I left. But there’s one more piece. My old contract called for 10 extra days every summer to work on reimaging computers and taking care of things that cannot happen during the school year. The new contract calls for 20.

Go figger …. While my story is nothing like the experiences of Job in the Old Testament, like him, I have been restored to more than I had at the beginning.

God’s always full of surprises.

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Back in February of 2008 when the school committee voted to eliminate my computer technologist position, I wrote to friends and family asking for their prayers through what I had assumed would be a few months of unemployment. One of my friends responded with the following:

Evening Friend,

Did I ever tell you what I learned from my Amtrak experience?  One of the first things you learn, if you are riding on Amtrak for any length of time, is that freight trains have priority, no matter what time of day or night. So, if a freight train is coming toward you on the same track, you are put on a side track. This is called “shuffling” in train lingo. Now, depending how far away the freight train is, you might be waiting on that side track for a few minutes, or in some cases, longer, over an hour. After the freight train passes, you go back on the main track and continue to your destination.

The way I figure it … in life….. when a freight train comes your way and it can be in the form of a lot of things, God has a way of “shuffling” you to that side track. It may be for a short time or a long time but when all things are in line according to His plans, He will put you back on that main track to continue your journey that is the purpose for your life.

Good Night. Rest well. God is in control.

Love and Peace  JS

Good words for me then and now.

All aboard!

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Here I sit on a gorgeous Monday holiday after a beautiful weekend; and tomorrow I go back to work.

Yup, unlike 2008 and 2009, Labor Day 2010 includes me! I’ve finished the first five days of employment in my 80% position as Technologist at Shapleigh School where I worked before.

It’s been a week of reconnecting with staff, moving equipment (with the bruises to prove it), checking inventories, updating databases, checking passwords and user IDs, getting ready for the first wave of electronic testing, making sure there are laptops for the kids who registered the last few weeks, and figuring out my schedule. I’ve gotten lots of hugs and “glad you’re backs” along the way.

I’ve shed some tears of joy at not only being back to work but also returning to a building full of terrific kids and people I respect.

Life’s always been good, but right now it’s even better.

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No matter how slowly it feels time is going through the summer, something happens near the ides of August. For the education community, in general, it is gearing up time for the start of school with opening days occurring from then through the day after Labor Day, depending on the district.

The buildings are usually in major disarray, clutter abounds, there are last-minute registrations, often times unexpected changes in staff, phone calls, papers, meetings, lesson plans, class schedules – an avalanche of activity as a group and as individuals.

In addition to the usual flurry of activity I’m engaged in during the last few days before school starts, my personal avalanche has often involved finalizing getting a job. That happened in 1982 when I was hired during a phone conversation, left for a planned family vacation, and returned the night before the first day of school. It happened in 1993 when I worked for a week without a contract altogether. It happened in 1997 when I had a job but didn’t know where it would be located.

And it is happening again in 2010 as I return to the Kittery School system to take an 80% Technologist position. Oh, yes, I signed a contract back on June 23, but that was for a 60% 7-12 Integrator position working in two buildings, the details not defined at that time.

Fast forward to August 17 when the Superintendent and School Committee restructured the technology department which included eliminating the position of coordinator. My 60% position went to 80% and was to now include grades 4-8 hardware and software support in addition to integration. I’ve been part of a 4-hour meeting assigning roles for this new team (two positions remain unfilled) and prioritizing what MUST be done before the kids come in and what can wait. There’s more work than time, surprise, surprise.

Staff returns to district tomorrow at 7:30 with students arriving on Wednesday, September 1.

It’s been two years since I’ve traveled this road. Some of the road signs have changed since I was last here from a new principal to more students and fewer hours to get the job done. There’s lots more equipment and new software, staff that I don’t know and staff that I know well.

Part of me feels like I’m in Groundhog Day – most of me feels like I’m going home – and that feels wonderful.

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