Wednesday, August 26, 2009


One evening during the summer, a student called me at home. This student, a girl with Attitude (notice the capital A), reported that she had done really well in a CNA class at the local technical college. Wanting to get a job, she asked if I knew how to create a resume. We agreed to meet, and we created a resume for her. I don't know if she got a job, but she made my day by calling. What really made my day? I'll tell you. There were two things. The first was the fact that this smart young woman who in the past has seen school as an uncaring institution and teachers as enemies called me, and she called me at home. The second was that this young woman realized for the first time what I had told her last year--she is really smart. Her college instructor encouraged her to pursue a career in nursing, something that requires a four-year degree.

New Year Strand

Although it's not the beginning of the calendar year, it IS the beginning of my year. Another school year starts NOW. I'm going to focus on the moments during this year that make me smile. Maybe that way I'll post more regularly!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

My Colleagues

For the past day and a half I have been sitting with colleagues from around the region AND Jamaica. My head hurts from thinking and my face hurts from laughing. As we discuss Parker Palmer and Art Costa and Bob Marzano and our own experiences with learners and transformation, I realize I am profoundly impacted by my relationship with these intelligent and visionary people. Each month most of us meet for four hours face-to-face; we also communicate via email and ichat and... Enthusiasm permeates our work and a synergy exists that I haven't experienced since I worked in good ole' St. Charles, Minnesota under the leadership of Hank Welle, the focus of my last blog. I am lucky that I have these people in my life to challenge my thinking, encourage me in my choices, validate my work, and make me laugh and enjoy the world we create. I'll think more of this but now I have to go process with them...

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

My First Boss

The first day of new staff training I was told I was a million dollar investment and that I wouldn't have been hired if they didn't believe in me and my ability to make a difference. "They" told me it was their job to make me the best I could be, so they told me to come to them whenever I needed anything. What a way to start. From that day on as a new teacher, I felt comfortable going into the office to ask for assistance. When the little, freckle-filled, mischevious Dan continued to be silly rather than productive, my boss helped me brainstorm ideas. He helped me solve my own problem and empowered me to come up with ideas. Throughout the years I taught in that little utopian corner of the universe, I generated countless ideas and was rewarded with great things.

As I grew in my job and learned that I found my niche, I found not only support but challenge to grow. One day Hank called me into his office and asked if I'd be interested in going to a training in Denver, Colorado with some guy named Bob Marzano. Not thinking about Dimensions of Learning or the training at all, I enthusiastically told him I'd love to go. Once at the training, I realized why I had been chosen--it was me! My dear boss knew me enough to know that this framework fit what I already believed. His sneakiness, however, showed on the way home. In the airport he asked if I'd be interested in sharing my new training with the entire staff. An extreme introvert (who has never been shy over ideas), I was a bit overwhelmed, but how could I say no? A couple decades later, not only have I trained the district staff in the DOL program, I have become a facilitator of adult learners. This work adds great things to my life and would never have happened without Hank knowing me better than I knew myself.

I could literally write an entire book on all that Hank did for me, but I'll stop here for now. I will say he has been one of my greatest mentors and I will forever be touched by him and his wisdome.

What's Happening in Your Corner of the Universe?

The people most important to me have scattered throughout the universe driven by their own dreams. I miss them. And their dreams. I will share them and their dreams hoping they will find me again and provide an update on what happens in their corners of the universe.

If you have people who have influenced you and changed your life, feel free to share positive and moving and funny and silly and even some sad (but appropriate stories) with me and my readers scattered around the various corners of the universe.