Tuesday, September 20, 2016
Mark My Words
Molly Stark Elementary School in Bennington, Vermont is named after a revolutionary war era woman who was, according to Wikipedia, "known for her success as a nurse to her husband's troops during a smallpox epidemic, and for opening their home as a hospital during the war." While she evidenced a sincere commitment to the pursuit of independence throughout the war and understandably earned notoriety, her contributions were somewhat obscured over time to the point that inserting her name into an internet search engine is more likely to produce a reference to her in a quote attributed to her husband, General John Stark, commander of troops in the pivotal Battle of Bennington.
On the eve of the important battle, General Stark declared to his soldiers, "There are your enemies, the Red Coats and the Tories. They are ours, or this night Molly Stark sleeps a widow!" Those words reflect a willingness to sacrifice and a firm conviction of either achieving victory or dying in the effort.
As the leader of Molly Stark Elementary School I approached my responsibility with a similar attitude. The enemies we face are the doubt and despair that impede progress in schools serving an impoverished population (71% of the learners qualify for free or reduced lunch). Though I will not offer the extreme and personal example of General Stark's clarion of victory or death, I will exercise a professional example of "victory or death." If our school's performance metrics have not increased by June of 2018, I will accept that my leadership was insufficient to promote success and tender my resignation so someone else can assume the role and provide the leadership the staff and learners deserve.
That is my vow to the Molly Stark school community.