Today is a great day for Perry Central as we are proud to host this event and have so many honored guests in attendance. It is a special day for I.A.P.S.S. as we embark on another year of serving the children of Indiana. It is an especially gratifying day for me personally because it represents three important groups of people to me coming together – my three “families” represented in one place.
At Perry Central we often refer to our staff and community as the Perry Central family – a family of which I am proud to be a part. I define family as a group of people who are tied together by common values and who care about each other. I would like for members of my Perry Central family who are here today to stand. These are the people who I work with and who share my passion for doing our very best for the children of Perry Central. Together we laugh, we debate, we ponder, we study, and even cry – in order to do our work on behalf of children. We know that people usually do not remember what we say and they may not remember what we do, but they remember how we make them feel. Our goal at Perry Central is insure that our students and community feel like they are special – because they are. Our “family” extends beyond the walls of our school to our larger community. I appreciate the Perry County community members who have taken time out of their busy schedules to join us today. I have a beautiful story to share about how Perry Central is part of our community. Each winter we offer a series of continuing education courses for adult community members, with topics literally ranging from basket weaving to aerobics. A few years ago Governor Ed Whitcomb, who lives here in Perry County, enrolled in a basic computer class. In that class was a lovely lady, Evelyn Gayer, now Mrs. Ed Whitcomb. I am proud to say that Governor Whitcomb met his bride right here at Perry Central, and we are honored to have them here today.
My life views are shaped by the values I learned from my “real” family growing up. The ideals passed down by my parents shape my interactions at Perry Central and in life. My parents, who were also educators, had one simple rule that we lived by – love one another. My dad said to us often, “Treat the people you love the most the best.” Although my dad has been gone for many years, I am fortunate to have my mom and her husband to model living life to the fullest each day. I am blessed with caring, hard-working children. My fourteen year-old, Zoe, is here to represent the group. Her brothers, Jess, 24, and Bill, 12, could not be here. My own children have grown to understand the value of giving back to the world by using our unique gifts. They also have learned to work with a happy heart. We do not assign chores at our house, but we do tasks to help out the good of the family. My children have been by my side through my ten years as a superintendent. Although I do strive to spend time with them, I also work to model for them how to live a good life by serving others. They have spent many hours in my office or by my side making cotton candy at a school event or delivering food baskets to needy families. Caring about each other and sharing common values matters!
My Perry Central family and my biological family often interact and overlap, but today is a special day because my third “family” is pulled into the mix. Superintendents often say that it is a lonely job, which is why we rely so much on each other. I am so appreciative of my colleagues with whom I can discuss issues and from whom I learn something new every time we talk. IAPSS is the glue that holds us together. Your family accepts you in good times and bad, and that is the way it feels with my fellow superintendents. We are there for each other through tough times and shining moments. I am proud to have so many of you here today for this positive occasion, but I know that tomorrow if a tough issue arises I can pick up the phone and call you for help.
Family matters – our traditional families, as well as our extended families. IAPSS and its members matter to me. We care about each other, and we share common values grounded in doing what is right for the children of Indiana. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to serve as your president for the next year. I consider all of you here as “family,” and family matters! Thank you.