brought forth to Cecil Floyd a new principal,
hired for leadership and dedicated to the proposition
that all children can learn and grow...
I recently reread what I wrote when Mr. Chris Bozarth was hired as the new principal at our school. The previous principal, Ms. Hennessey, had retired, and this unknown man from Northeast Oklahoma had just come in for a visit to the faculty. It was an introduction that instantly gave me enough of impression of the new principal that I wrote my perceptions and expectations in an open letter to him. I am extremely thankful that letter (copied below) turned out to be spot-on.
We have been more than blessed to have Mr. Bozarth as the captain of our ship!
First, please allow me to welcome you, Katie, and the boys to our family at Cecil Floyd. I'm excited, truthfully, that you will bring with you a new spirit into our walls. It's hard to know what to say to the new guy, but perhaps it's even harder to know how to say it. Undoubtedly, there are things you want to know about the dynamics of our school and the community that surrounds us, but we also don't want to appear to push personal agendas or promote ourselves individually.
In introducing your wife and children to us, standing before us, and interacting with your family and with us, you successfully made a positive first impression on the staff. The air at Cecil Floyd is electric!
Would you like to know what we think?
We think you are a family man. Your wife adores you, and your sons respect you. You spend time with them, and you have taught them how to carry themselves. I was able to meet them before shaking hands with you, and they represented you well.
We think you value relationships, not only familial ones, but relationships with your peers and with students. You like to learn people's names, and you genuinely want to get to know us all. You want to learn about our students and encourage them to become the best citizens possible.
We think you will bring moral clarity with you. As a churchgoing family, you understand the importance of good values, consistent manners, and selfless love. You are a servant. You are not above getting into the trenches with teachers and students. You will do all of these things, while displaying an honorable example - even when people are not looking.
We think you will encourage us. You are fully prepared to hold up our hands when we are tired and carry us when we collapse. You are not afraid to express yourself, and you will find ways to positively keep us moving forward.
We think you will not be satisfied with mediocrity. You will motivate us to break our ceilings and explore the stars. You come to us with infectious energy, and you will allow us to humbly feed on it. We want to offer the best experiences for our students, and you will help us with that endeavor.
We think you are honest, that you will not hide things from us. You will communicate effectively and openly with us, all in the desire to do what is best for our students.
We think you have a sense of humor. Frankly, so do we. We like to laugh with our peers and with our students, and we can't wait to bring you into that laughter with us.
We think you will be patient with us. You should know that we are still getting accustomed to our break from rigid oversight. For the last year, our district has worked hard to empower campuses, teachers, and ultimately, students. Such a change requires experimentation with the learning standards and teaching methods, and as a result, we will fail. While we do not like failure, we realize it is a part of the improvement process.
We think you are human. We understand that you are not our Savior (or even a savior). We know you are not our Superman. We do not expect you to have all the answers. You will not singlehandedly solve all of our issues and problems. Above all, we realize that, like us, you are a single member of our team, and that it will take continuing effort from each of us to make this school better than ever.
We think you have a lot to learn. When you change schools, districts, states, staffs, and standards, a learning incline faces you. We realize this, and we would like to offer our own leadership to you in return for the patience and respect you afford us. We understand missteps. It will be interesting to see you develop and put all the pieces together. We encourage our students to do the same - learn from mistakes - and that's what we hope for ourselves, as well.
We think you will be an effective leader. Just as our outgoing principal filled some cosmic needs for our school, we challenge you and expect you to do the same. Our needs have transformed in the last four years, so you don't have to fill her shoes, and we don't even want you to try. Still, you have already given us the impression that you will be the right man for the job.