I don't think that many people can say that they loved going to work everyday. I can. Every day that I have spent at Hixson Middle School in the Webster Groves School District has been a pleasure. I love the kids, my colleagues, the climate of the district and the growth I've experienced. Webster has always been a district that encouraged teachers to take risks in the classroom and try new things if we think they will help kids learn. In that kind of environment, teacher autonomy is nurtured. It is empowering, meaningful, authentic work. It is the same work that we ask our kids to do. While it is time to move on, I cannot help but think that I am the teacher and person that I am today because of my time in Webster Groves. For this, I am eternally grateful.
Ten years ago, Melissa Hellwig and I started our journey together. We were a half team at Hixson and we became fast friends and work mates. We complemented each other well. My strengths were her weaknesses and her strengths were my weaknesses. Together we created a climate that was second to none for our kids at school. We think alike: kids come first, treat everyone well, advocate for what is best for all. I could not have asked for a better teaching partner and friend. She is the reason that I flung open my classroom door and shared more of what I, and we, did. She made me a better teacher and a better person. I owe a lot of my growth as an educator to her and I appreciate her as a teacher, colleague and friend. Our kids were so lucky to have had Melissa as their teacher. She is amazing.
Melissa is symbolic of the incredible talent in Webster Groves. Webster teachers are amazing. Going the extra mile for kids is the rule, not the exception. They are talented, caring, intelligent and compassionate people. When you work in an environment with teachers like that, you take on the best qualities of those people. It made me better.
Now I am moving on. I take with me the values of Webster Groves. I will continue my mission for children in the Collier County School District at East Naples Middle School. While I will never have another teaching partner and friend like Melissa, I know that because of my time in Webster I am better prepared for the challenges that lie ahead. Thank you, Hixson. Thank you, Webster.