This past week has been one of the toughest in my professional life. I was faced with a decision that was the best for me and my family, but one that I knew would create stress and anxiety for staff (and possibly students). I was offered a position as an assistant principal at the high school in the district where my family lives.
The building I currently work at is one hour from my house. This new position would allow me to be closer to my family and have some flexibility in attending my children's activities during the school day. The conflict for me was the timing of the new position. I would begin within the next two weeks - so I would be leaving the staff and students in the middle of the year.
The last week I have listed the pros and cons and what it really boiled down to was - what affect would this move have on my family versus the effect on staff and students? I sat down with my family last Tuesday night and we talked about the possibility of me changing jobs - this would also affect my 9th grade son since he would be in the building I would be moving into. I was a little surprised when he said it would be "cool" for me to be in his building. A little later he even asked if we could ride to school together. The solidified my decision. It was clear to me that being closer was important to my family.
Now how to tell staff that I was leaving in the middle of the year. We met as at staff and I broke the news Friday morning (thank goodness this was a work day). The staff knew something was up (especially when the superintendent was there as well). I am not a big meeting guy and only meet when we need to. So when I asked them to meet they were suspicious, but I don't think they knew me leaving would be a possible topic. I broke the news and the looks on their faces broke my heart. Shock, disbelief, fear.
Staff were awesome as I continued to talk about how I came about the decision to take the new position. I had always supported their family needs and they knew this would be a very positive move for my family. My main goal as an administrator was to support my staff so they could focus on student learning. As I met with staff individually throughout the day my greatest fear had come true - I could not support them through their fears of "what next." And and hated the feeling.
Over the weekend I have been able to reflect on my decision and I am at peace with it. I know the staff and students will be ok because the staff are great people who focus on students. My family will be better off.
Never did anyone in my building (or district) say anything to me if I needed to leave early to get back to one of my children's activities (as a matter of fact my secretary would get mad at me if she saw something on my calendar and I wasn't going to go), but I always felt guilty. What if something happened? It was my responsibility to be there and deal with it so staff could focus on student learning. This is the conflict I believe all administrators feel. I preached the importance of family with my staff - I guess this decision is me living it.
I want to thank my staff for the support Friday, and want to apologize because I will not be able to help much moving forward. I know this was tough news for them because of how it will ultimately affect them. I also want to thank the other administrators and superintendent who were very supportive as well.
I am sad to be closing one chapter of my administrative life - the staff, students, and families has been great to work with. At the same time, I am excited to begin the next. The next couple of weeks will be tough, but nothing compared to the last week.