Dear Mr. Ken Stanek:
I just want to say thank you for giving this hometown girl a chance at being a teacher. I still remember the local newspaper’s article shortly after you offered me the 3rd grade position replacing Lyla Bracken. “School Board Questions Principal’s Hiring Policy.”
Holy cow. I thought I was going to be fired before I even got started. Back then, the school board did not believe in hiring hometown people. My, how things have changed. Thank goodness! 🙂
Now we encourage our hometown kids to stay or come back after high school. You were ahead of the game, sir. So…from the bottom of my heart, I sincerely say thank you for believing in me! Thank you for having my back those years you were in charge.
I now teach college students how to be teachers, Mr. Stanek. I still love what I do. One of the best honors for me though, is that I have had the opportunity to share my educational passion with your two granddaughters, Kelsey and Sarah. What a privilege for me to pass on my passion and enthusiasm for this profession to your two lovely granddaughters. Honored.
You will never guess what I did the other day, Mr. Stanek. Give up?
I went to my TRA retirement meeting. Yes, I reach the Rule of 90 and can retire in September of this year. Yes, you read that correctly! This year…2018. I am just as shocked as you are. Where did that time go?
I will not retire though, Mr. Stanek! I am not ready yet. Even after 31 years of being in education, I still LOVE what I do. I still get excited every day to go to school. I still enjoy serving the students. I still want to listen to what they did over their break. I still work late hours to get assignments corrected and that is okay. I still enjoy finding new ideas to try out in my classroom. I still appreciate learning from other educators. Nope, not ready yet. 🙂
I remember when you retired, sir. It was a time that the Teacher Retirement Association offered an early retirement incentive. You jumped on the opportunity, and I think you were a young 55 at the time. Do I have that right?
I do not blame you. Being a principal is tough. I did that gig for a short time. Educational leadership is hard. Being an educator comes with many challenges. Please know that I believed you were very good at what you did! I appreciated you then, and I appreciate you now.
Thank you for everything, Mr. Stanek. Thank you for taking a chance on a small town girl who just wanted the opportunity to show the community I could be a good teacher. And my journey from teacher to principal to professor is partially because of you and your encouragement…never underestimate the difference you made in my life.
Hugs to you, sir! God bless always.