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Superintendent’s message: District 54 community full of positive influencers

Every December as the year winds down, I reflect on all that I have to be thankful for – both personally and professionally as the superintendent of the School District 54.

This year, all District 54 employees read the book Big Potential by Shawn Achor. After more than a decade of research, Shawn writes that happiness and success are fueled by those around us:  “We need to stop trying to be faster alone and start working to be stronger together.”

The book goes on to say, “What you need is a star system: a constellation of positive, authentic influencers who support each other, reinforce each other and make each other better.”

Each day when I come to work, I encounter so many positive influencers, who contribute to the success of District 54.

I became an educator to influence the lives of children. What I quickly learned on my first teaching job is how much they influence my life. As I visit schools and classrooms, I encounter so many amazing students. Sometimes they influence me in simple ways – with a smile or a high five as I pass them in the hall. At other times, their acts are much grander. We have students who have won national competitions; students who are leading social-emotional activities at their junior high schools; and students running clubs that focus on acts of kindness toward others.

I am also grateful to the parents in our community who have raised these outstanding individuals and thankful that they trust us with their care during the school day. Many of these parents are also active volunteers for our schools. I am so appreciative of the time they make for not only their children, but for all of the children in our schools.

When I left teaching to become an administrator, it was because I felt I could impact more children’s lives by supporting other educators. As an assistant principal, principal, assistant superintendent and superintendent, again I learned what a strong impact our employees have on me.

When I asked all staff to read Shawn Achor’s first book, I was excited to promote happiness in our schools. However, the positive culture has exceeded my expectations. Our employees come to work motivated to make a difference in the lives of our students by helping them achieve academic success and supporting their social-emotional needs as well. You will not find a more positive, supportive, dedicated group of individuals than the District 54 employees.

Thank you to all of the students, staff and families who have made a positive impact on the District 54 community and me personally. I encourage all of you to follow @D54schools on Facebook or Twitter, or @SchaumburgD54Schools on Instagram, to see for yourself the positive influencers in action.

During winter break, I hope our staff and families – and everyone in our community – takes time to express their gratitude to the positive influencers in their lives.