I am taking time out from my usual #edchat to recognize the incredible contribution superintendent Dr. Debbie Blow has made to our district and to me personally. Dr. Blow is moving to a new district where she can be closer to her family. I will miss her inspiration, influence and energy. For each of the three years since I was laid off from my tenured position in my previous district, I have been invited back to an open position. Once again this year I explained to them that until they could offer me the environment and opportunities that Cambrian has offered me, ....thanks but no thanks, I'm staying in Cambrian, even without tenure. Cambrian is that special of a place.
As a "founding" member of the iPad academy, I am part of a team of 6 passionate and courageous teachers, all of us learning as we went along side by side with +Kirby Fell and Dr. Blow. She showed extraordinary vision, leadership and enthusiasm as she gave us the tools we needed to proceed and then took her seat along side us while we flew the plane while building it. As a great leader does, she trusted her team, and gave us the freedom to discover and develop best practices. We created a successful iPad Academy model that now includes 41 classroom teachers with 1:1 iPads. Our Home and School Clubs have purchased an additional 300 or so devices for teacher and classroom use. For the upcoming 5th iPad academy cohort, there were 23 applications for an available 12 slots.
Having the iPads has truly revolutionized and reenergized my practice and my classroom. After 2.5 years I cannot imagine teaching without them now. Using this tool, our students are reading, writing, explaining their thinking in math and science, going on virtual field trips and even coding in meaningful, authentic and thus engaging ways. Yes, they could have done much of it without the iPad, but the iPad is more captivating, genuine and helps prepare our students for their futures. Our first cohort of "iPaddians" paved the way, researching, documenting and sharing best practices. We created a wiki to share what we've learned with our colleagues. This was all under Dr. Blow's leadership.
- Ability to delegate
- Sense of humor
- Positive attitude
- The ability to inspire
Having a background in executive management, I can tell you how critical Dr. Blow's leadership has been in the successful implementation of our 21st century strategies. As our board moves forward with their selection of a new superintendent, I hope they will seek someone with at least some of her leadership qualities, so that we don't lose the momentum we have all worked so hard to gain. Developing global citizens with 21st century skills is one of the pillars of our strategic plan and it is my hope that the school board and new superintendent will continue support of our academies and professional development in Educational technology to help sustain this effort.
Dr. Debbie Blow possesses all of the Forbes 10 qualities and although she is one of a kind and amazing, the board would do well to find someone who can continue to provide the kind of leadership, vision and commitment that Dr. Blow seems to provide so effortlessly. I hope they do not lose sight of her vision. She has been, and even in her decision to leave, continues to be, an inspiration to me.
Dr. Blow, You will be missed.