In my district this year, there was a lot of turnover due to retirement. However, in reflecting on all the people who are leaving, they are people that I have established special bonds with throughout my career in the district.
The special education director taught me patience and a critical eye. We also came in at the same time, so we shared similar experiences and grew together in our own positions.
The school business executive was a true friend and someone who I leaned on throughout the years. She had an open door for me, an ear to listen, and a quick laugh that helped on some of the longer days. She is leaving the district in great financial shape but, even more importantly, with relationships that will last a lifetime.
The superintendent—I don’t think I will ever work for anyone better. He took a total shot in the dark on me, and I will be forever grateful for that. I was barely 30 when I started in the central office, and he allowed me to grow into the position. He provided vision and leadership. He moved the district miles, and I would like to think, I helped in that journey.
Last, but most important, is the superintendent’s secretary. She is the mother of the co-author of this blog. We became very close friends, and she is even the godmother of my youngest child. She was there to listen and provide a helpful word. I can’t even count how many chats we had over the years. She has been referred to as the “glue” that held Ramapo Central together. To me, she was one of the driving forces that shaped me as an administrator and a person.
I share the above to show what an unbelievable place a school district can really be. All of the people above had official roles, and I worked with them in that capacity. However, their unofficial roles as friend, confidant, and mentor are more important. I hope that all administrators have as big a support team as I have enjoyed over the last seven years.
James Yap and Teresa Ivey
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