Hawk Air

June 30, 2009

This makes the third July in a row that I am looking at a new school assignment for the fall.  And for three years prior to that, my central office responsibilities shifted annually. I’ve gotten used to it to the point where I open e-mails and answer the phone in July with trepidation.

Every move is a growth opportunity.   What I lose, though, is the daily contact with the people at each place I leave.

So far I have worked at the following Carteret County schools:   West Carteret (twice), Newport El (twice), Beaufort Middle, Morehead El, and Bridges Alternative.  I have also done an admin internship at Croatan.  Add to that six years at Central Office and my time at NCDPI and ECU (not to mention 7 years in the District of Columbia Public School System), and I have put on a lot of experience and have worked with a lot of people.

So to close out one of the most fulfilling years in my 24-year career, I am leaving Newport Elementary and heading to East Carteret High School.  It is a great opportunity for me to work in a high school and to work east of the bridge.

My time at Newport will not be forgotten.  In fact, I have written extensively about it in a 70-page compilation of humorous vignettes I call “Skiffload of Hard Crabs.”  (I’m referring to the students here, not the teachers.)   Once I polish it up a little more, I will leave a copy with Mrs. Lanning.

Newport El is a great school.  Together, we made the dream of greatness a reality this year.  The spirit of team is alive and well.  Our innovations were fast and nothing short of effective:  team teaching, Hawk Center, Academic Achievement, literacy circles, Lexiles, ClassScapes formative assessment, standardization across grade levels, weekly team meetings with admin, heightened teacher observations, in-house staff development, duty free lunch, prison dodgeball, Dexter, Levar, Newport Beach Music Party, and the list goes on.

We all were focused, positive and directed…by Mrs. Lanning.  What an inspirational leader!  Her passion, courage, and love of Newport community and school go unrivaled.  This is a big reason Newport El will continue to excel.

The late Brad Sneeden was the architect of the Lanning/Poletti match.  Who else could have had the uncanny insight to put two high school veterans together at an elementary school that was labeled “School in Improvement?”  To a large degree, what the entire NES staff accomplished this year is a tribute to his great vision.

And you want icing on the cake?  I spent untold hours crunching EOG numbers.  My calculations are conservative and unofficial, but they have us making strident gains.    I predict that when official numbers are released, Newport Nation may be dancing in the streets.  This will be a tribute to our collective and unceasing commitment to excellence.

Though I must roll, I know I always have a home in Newport.  And I never know which way the path ahead will diverge.  So leave the light on for me.

Because of you, there will always be an illuminated part of my heart — and golden memories — that belong to Newport Elementary School.

I wish you the best as NES continues its assent to the limitless heights of excellence.

Thank you again for allowing me to breathe “Hawk Air.”


AP of the Year, representing Newport Nation…

June 6, 2009
Carteret County Employees of the Year

Carteret County Employees of the Year