Dear Dexter Park,
With all the staff reflecting on their jobs and why they #loveteaching, I think it is time I tell you how I feel about you. Less than a year ago, I took a big risk and left a school that I loved. I must admit that I was nervous and asked myself: "Am I ready?" "What if it doesn't work out?" and "What if I made a huge mistake?". People in public would act surprised to find out I was making a move. I had the perfect situation: great staff, wonderful students, new building, etc. There was always something in the back of my head telling me that this was right for me, and as it turns out, I am glad I listened.
Many people may judge what you do from the appearance of the building but if they knew what happened on the inside everyday for kids and got to see what I see everyday, they would never want to leave. Staff that at their core, care about their students as people and human beings first and students second. Staff that identified their core values as wanting to students to feel welcome, respected, and safe. And you don't just talk the talk, you walk the walk. You take the time to get to know each student, building relationships and trust because you know that your students need you and you may be the only caring, compassionate adult in their life. You make decisions based on the child's best interests as if they were your own and you give them something that many never get at home: a second chance. You model for them what a competent, caring person does. You work hard, treat others with respect, and you work with others in the best interests of our school community.
You should know that not a day has come where I wasn't ecstatic about coming to work. You are the definition of the what public education should and is supposed to be: offering equal opportunities to those who may not be afforded them otherwise. The level of satisfaction I get everyday from working with and for students here is like nothing I have ever experienced in my life. The job you do is hard, complex, emotionally draining, and sometimes deflating. But you do it. You do it because it is the right thing to do and because the students of Orange deserve the best that you can give them. It may the best they ever get in their life. You have to know that I admire and honor you, and although we may not always agree or you don't fully understand my decisions, I hope you know that each day I am working in what I believe are the best interests of students and of you.
Thank you for welcoming me "home". I truly feel like I have been here forever and that this was meant to be for myself and my family. I am excited for the future of our school, the growth all of us will make together, and the differences we will continue to make in the lives of children.