Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Climbing the Ladder of Success

Today, a good thing happened to a good man. Dr. Kevin Brown (with a first name like Kevin, you can understand why he's a "good man,") was named the new Superintendent of the Alamo Heights Independent School District. Actually, I stand corrected. I hate to put the cart in front of the horse: he was named the LONE finalist in the running for the new Superintendency.

Having met the other Kevin several years ago at Trinity University when he was the still just the "Personnel Director" of AHISD, I was immediately impressed with him. I was at the same function as he (Yes! it IS "he") because a math teacher from AH high school and I were both up for the prestigious "Trinity Award," which honors excellence in teacher by handing out one-thousand dollar checks. There were several "checkpoints" to receiving the cash, including several "mixers" where principals and superintendents can introduce the candidate from their school. On each of these occasions, NO ONE from my district or school came with me.

I remember having to take the podium in front of a room full of hundreds of people at the first mixer. All the previous candidates for the Trinity Award were accompanied by a slew of supportive individuals, which the thanked in kind. When it was my turn, I was downright embarrassed. I had no one to introduce except my BEAUTIFUL WIFE, which was fine with me. After thanking her for getting my shirt so white and pressed, I stepped down from the podium as I had entered it: alone.

At the two subsequent events, my wife and I were attending "stag," with no district or campus representative. The final event was a formal event in the chapel of Trinity University. The state teacher of the year spoke to us, as well as the president of the University. I sat in the front row as an honoree, while my wife and parents sat in the general congregation. I told my dad he could be my "principal," and my mom could be the "superintendent," or they could fight over the the honorary titles. But it would be entirely between them, since nobody legitimate would be their to fight them.

To make a short story long, outside after the program had ended (and we were presented our checks,) everyone met outside. I was celebrating with my small entourage of three others. After I decided that I would take my wife, mom, and dad out to dinner, a man I recognized came up to me and introduced himself. His name was Kevin Brown.

Kevin had been a successful elementary principal in our district a few year before, and I remember how saddened our district was to lose him to Alamo Heights, where he took the Personnel Directorship. Knowing that I was from New Braunfels ISD, his old district, he made it a point to come introduce himself and congratulate me on my recognition and award. He THEN invited me to HIS entourage and introduced me to the people who were there supporting the AH high school teacher. I turns out that the entire math department and administrative staff was their to support their colleague.

I knew that a man who goes by Paul Foerster was a teacher at their high school. He is a LEGEND in the math education community. Just "google" his name. He writes textbooks. In fact, he wrote the textbook that I and many others learned from in high school. The man is a star in my book. Well, he was their with his wife and all the other awesome faculty members. I shook his hand and told him about the picture of him on my wall. We laughed. He was very charming and encouraging. So were all the other people I met in that group. I was so thankful for Kevin Brown going out of his way to make that day extra special for me. Meeting so many supportive, gracious professionals helped assuage my disappointment of being unrepresented by anyone from by professional contingency, that is all the disappointment that the cool cash hadn't already assuaged.

Anyway, today that same man, Kevin Brown, was basically given the helm of the entire district of Alamo Heights Independent School District. I always enjoy seeing great people rewarded for their greatness, which is why I rejoice in this decision.

It's reassuring to see that good guys don't finish last, and that there are school districts out there that are so supportive, effective, and professional.


Anonymous said...

Wow!! A supportive, effective, professional district. A person would be so lucky to find themselves there. Hmmmm......

Anonymous said...

Since leadership always starts at the top, am I missing something in NBISD?