Valid email addresses are required to post comments. If your comment is not posted, I will send you an email with an explanation.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Getting Paid - Paying It Forward

Here are two very different posts that are inexplicably linked.

I have been attending the winter conference of the New York State Council of School Superintendents held in Albany from yesterday morning (Sunday) through tomorrow (Tuesday). This is an important event that provides opportunities for skill development and the acquisition of knowledge for school district leaders.

The opening of today's activities was greeted by news of Governor Cuomo's proposal to pass legislation capping the annual salary of school superintendents throughout New York. Districts with fewer than 250 learners in grades would be limited to no more than a salary of $125,000, whereas larger districts would be capped at $175,000.

Let me assure readers of this Blog who live or work in Green Island that I DO NOT exceed the proposed cap. Not only is my salary below the recommended salary cap for superintendents, it is $4,500 below the salary I was contractually scheduled to receive if I had remained at my previous position as principal of Schuylerville Elementary School in Schuylerville, New York. Obviously, the allure of accepting the position as superintendent of Green Island Union Free School District was much more involved with pursuing a goal of extending leadership influence across all grades K-12 than money. Furthermore, I informed our school board president several weeks ago that I am not asking for any salary increase in light of the present economic turmoil that plagues our region. I'll leave it at that without jumping on a soapbox to defend my compensation.

Now that the possible distraction of my salary is out of the way I can Blog about an enriching and enlightening experience I had at the conference on Sunday. I had the pleasure of listening to a speaker convey a profound message on behalf of his daughter. His name is Darrell Scott. His daughter's name is Rachel Scott. Rachel was the first fatal victim of the 13 people who died during the violent rampage at Columbine High School eleven years and eleven months ago - April 20, 1999.

Rachel was a prolific writer who produced several personal diaries before she was randomly slain at age seventeen as she sat outside of her high school. The words contained within her diaries, in particular an essay she had written and submitted in English class just two weeks before her death; offer a powerful view on the prospects of generating and spreading good will one act at a time, one person at a time. Here's a summary of her thoughts in one sentence:

I have this theory that if one person can go out of their way to show compassion then it will start a chain reaction of the same. - Rachel Scott

Her passionate desire to make a difference has come true, albeit after her senseless death. Her personal goal has formed the basis for an energetic and dedicated organization devoted to making a positive and constructive difference in the lives of others. I wholeheartedly encourage you to visit and learn more about the organization and its mission.

This group has stretched well beyond Rachel's native Colorado and reached across oceans and through borders to impact millions of people, especially young people. Her story, as told in multi-media format by her family, is incredibly inspiring and certainly worth a review. It speaks of respecting differences, extending help, and making a difference through kindness and compassion. Her goals ring even louder today when cyber bullying has enlarged the scope of those who are mean spirited.

I purchased a copy of one of the books written about Rachel and signed by her dad. I am anxious to read the story. I had an interesting conversation with Mr. Scott and revealed to him my own connection with Columbine. My wife grew up just miles away from Littleton Colorado in a small community outside of Denver. Also, the superintendent of the Jefferson County School District (88 schools including Columbine) at the time of that tragedy is a personal friend of mine and former colleague when we were both school administrators in Amarillo, Texas years ago.

The story of Rachel Scott is heart wrenching. There were many tears in the room as her father shared his memories of her and the desire she had to promote kindness. The presentation was a tribute to a wonderfully gifted young lady wise beyond her years. Despite a life needlessly shortened, she provoked a cause that will extend far into the future, beyond imagination. In fact, her reach resembles that of one of her heroes who also left the world a diary of vision and hope - Anne Frank. Rachel's extraordinary message is one that should resonate with each of us and prompt us all to subscribe to volunteering individual acts that continue a chain reaction of compassion.

No comments:

Post a Comment