A Mariner Always

Just like with riding my bike, my career has been marked by constantly changing  gears.

True to form—it’s another year, another move, another blog-goodbye.

First was leaving Central Office (Job Shift, August ’07)
Then came leaving West Carteret (Balancing the Universe, July ’08)
Then there was leaving Newport El (Hawk Air, July ’09)
Now, it is “Adios East.”

The toughest part about the last few years is not having the chance to say proper farewells.  But maybe things happen for a reason.  I do seem to come in and out with the tides, so you never know when I may wash up on the pristine Down East  shores again.

Simply put, working at East Carteret this year has been a blessing.  The school is just the right size.  I not only knew most of the students, but also the activities/sports in which they engaged….and, oh yes, their personalized testing data.

The supporters of ECHS are phenomenal.  I am most impressed with and appreciative of their  “can-do” spirit.  Stakeholders stand at the ready to chip in and get things accomplished.  That makes for a thriving community.

In one short year, we were able to raise a lot of money for athletics, which we spent wisely to run quality athletic programs.  We have some new landscaping beds, a new baseball scoreboard, and some new footbridges to show for our efforts.  And we finished in black ink.

On the academic front, I am real excited about East Carteret’s Review and Enrichment initiative.  Developing that was a classic example of total team effort by committed and focused administrators, faculty and staff.  The PLC conversations toward that R&E goal were rich and exciting.  The R&E product speaks for itself and most likely contributed to improved test scores.

I liked our discussions on data:  growth versus proficiency.   But more than that, those discussions spawned discussions of interventions.  And the list of intervention strategies was extensive.  As it should be, the intervention discussion is ongoing.  I will be eager to hear of future strategies as dials are turned and programs are tweeked.


I remember the short tenure of Superintendent Brad Sneeden.   He had such a profound effect on our school system in his year-and-a-half with us.  I came to grips with his untimely death by choosing to celebrate the time he shared with us rather than lamenting his loss.

That’s how I deal with this series of one-year stints I’ve been on recently.  Every time I leave a school, it hurts me because I’ve always made great connections at those schools.  But it is unproductive to dwell upon “what might have beens.”  Rather than mourn any loss, we all have to focus on the positive and sustain the momentum of continuous improvement.

That is the “can-do” spirit that is in the DNA of East Carteret High School and community.

So, we began the year by “Sailing to Success” and we “Finished Strong.” Now, we are “Mariners Always.”   My hat’s off to you, Mighty Mariners, as you continue on your positive trajectory.   It is my honor, privilege and blessing to consider myself part of ECHS always.


4 Responses to A Mariner Always

  1. Carrie Sheehan says:

    Thanks, Joe! We’ll miss you. Take care and God bless and be with you.

  2. Abi Mason says:

    I miss you already!! I wish only the best for you. Our school is stronger for your having been here.
    Thanks Joe Poletti. I’m so glad to have gotten to know you. You will always be special.

  3. Keith Driscoll says:

    Thanks much for your patience, guidance and wisdom, Joe. You’ll be missed. Best of luck at the new gig.

  4. Jane Burbella says:

    East Carteret will not be quite the same without you. I will miss you and your quick stops in the media center looking for something “good to read.” Best of success at Croatan. I’m betting there are good books there, too, and I’m sure Julie will pick the best of the best for you. Take care, and watch out for those alligators!

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