As I sit down to write my final director’s message of the school year (don’t worry I’ll be around this summer too ☺), I think back over the dozens of messages that I’ve sent over the past five years and I can’t help but wonder where the time has gone. I can’t believe that I am finishing the fifth year of what was supposed to be a four-year job!
When I took this role, I had every intention of retiring in 2017 and moving onto the next chapter of my life – but instead here I am feeling like it is still year one!
As I had shared earlier, this past year was a real struggle for me, things didn’t go the way I wanted them to go more often than not, and there were a lot of frustrations along the way. But in the end, despite all those moments and all the “failures”, we moved the ball forward in so many ways.
CTE continued to grow and expand and most importantly, impact the lives of those we serve. Each time I would “lose” a battle or face a new challenge, there would be someone there to inspire me to get back in the game. It might be a teacher who said just the right words, or a former boss who told me to keep going, or a student who I knew from my former life as a principal who would be so proud to be graduating from Orange Technical College, or a co-worker who would use my own words against me-lol, or an industry partner who would say just the right thing at the right moment, or a friend who would share a poem or my wife who would say, “Really? Get over it!”
Each time I needed a kick in the pants or a pat on the back, someone was there to do just that. That is what family is and that is what family does. Family loves us at our best and our worst and that is what my CTE family has done for me this year and I am thankful to have you all in my life.
I am really looking forward to year six of my four-year stint as the Associate Superintendent of CTE! On one hand I was worried when I heard that our Deputy Superintendent, Dr. Jara, was going to be leaving OCPS to go to be the Superintendent of Clarke County Schools in Nevada. He has been nothing but supportive of CTE in our time together – he has not only helped put us on the map, he has been in the trenches with us drawing that map! I could not have asked for a better situation than to have him as my “boss.” He was a big reason for me getting this job and he stood beside me throughout our time together, through good and bad decisions on my part.
But then, on the other hand, Maria Vazquez was chosen to replace him and if there was one person who I would have handpicked for the role, strictly from a selfish perspective to replace Dr. Jara, it would have been Dr. Vazquez. She has been my boss before and she rocks – and I mean that in the best way possible. She has high expectations and holds you to them, but at the same time gives you what you need to make it happen and stands beside you through thick and thin – the way that family does! Not only will the momentum we have created in the past five years continue, it will continue to grow!
With all that being said, thank you for being a part of the CTE Family! For those members of our team who are retiring or leaving this year, I wish you all the best in your new journey. For those who will be returning, we will keep moving towards Vision 2022 with a sense of urgency as we continue to work to be the very best CTE program in the nation.
Have a great CTE Summer and get ready to help us celebrate our 85th year of Changing Lives Through Education this fall, Mike.