I enjoy reading the Facebook posts from my friends each November where they get online each day and post something about which they are thankful. I think it’s important to stop and give thanks, and we often times get too caught up in our fast-paced lives to do that. Thankfully, we have a holiday that reminds us to do just that. Speaking of which, here are three things that I am thankful for during this holiday season:
I am truly blessed to have an amazing family. I don’t mention them very often in my articles because I try to keep them focused on education topics, but my family is the foundation that I lean on when times get tough, and I would like to brag on them for a brief moment. My wife, Kim, is the glue that holds my family together and has been incredibly understanding and supportive of my endeavors as a teacher leader that takes me away from my family on occasion. She is also a gifted baker, and her delicacies are sold at the restaurant Bites of Europe here in Manchester. Seriously, if you haven’t tasted her stuff yet, you’re really missing out! My two daughters are thriving in school, and I’m even more proud of the young ladies that they have become. I am thankful for their understanding of the long hours I put into teaching which occasionally means that daddy can’t spend time with them I am also thankful for my mom and mother-in-law being everything that moms should be. Their supporting roles in my family unit are pivotal to all of our successes and we couldn’t do it without them.
My extended family at Coffee County High School is simply incredible, and I am thankful for their kindness and generosity. When I was teetering on the brink of quitting teaching altogether after having been denied tenure in Metro Nashville Schools, they gave me another shot, and I will forever be grateful. Eleven years later, I still wake up every morning thankful that I get to go to work there. It is invigorating working with a group of professionals who are dedicated to educating and to helping raise about 1,400 teenagers every day. Coffee County Schools, including the high school, leads the way in Tennessee for modeling how community schools should operate. Yes, we are focused on educating students to the best of our abilities, but we also do what we can to help the whole child by doing things like the Teen Expo where they can get school supplies to start the school year and the Thanksgiving food baskets so that some of our less fortunate students can have a Thanksgiving dinner, too. Of course, none of this would be possible without a strong foundation of administrators who do an unheralded job every single day. Thank you for your hard work and for your support. I promise you that it does not go unnoticed.
Finally, I am thankful for each and every person who is a member of the Coffee County Education Association and has enough faith in myself, as the association’s president, and the executive board to join or continue their memberships. I have the pleasure of working with an impressively dedicated group of teachers from across the district who have agreed to serve on the CCEA Executive Board or as building representatives. It takes all of our contributions to make CCEA successful, and I am proud that we made the decision to give back to our members during American Education Week last week by purchasing and distributing CCEA t-shirts. American Education Week is always the week before Thanksgiving and it started in 1921 “for the purpose of informing the public of the accomplishments and needs of the public schools and to secure the cooperation and support of the public in meeting those needs.” Coffee County Schools was disappointingly silent about that last week, and I am thankful that CCEA had the desire to show our colleagues that we appreciate and support them. In times like this when public education is constantly under attack from ignorant, money-driven special interest groups, it’s more important than ever to have a zealous group of educators ready to advocate for our own profession and stand by our colleagues’ sides. I am humbled and thankful for the opportunity to lead this group.