01.06.2012 Musings from a School Board Member, Talent Management and Development No Comments

Commencement! (and a lesson in talent development)

A year ago, almost to the day, my older son, kind-hearted soul that he is, brought home yet another stray cat, this one from the mean streets of Binghamton. Esther, as he named her, was a bit skittish, no doubt a result of her challenging day-to-day existence, but also, it turned out, because she was pregnant. Little more than a kitten herself, in about a month she birthed a litter of six of the cutest cat babies you ever did see.

Now we helped a little bit, providing food here and changing litter there. But she took the lead in their upbringing. First by doing things for them and then showing them how to do things and eventually letting them do things for themselves, she’s raised some mighty fine young men, er, cats (the two we’ve held on to) who can now go forth into the world on any given day and fend for themselves (well, except for that food and litter thing).

And so it is with our kits, er, kids. (You hoped I’d get around to a tie-in at some point, didn’t you!) Except it takes a bit more time than a year before ours are ready to face the challenges of the world they will enter, and it’s a much more complex, ever-changing one at that, for them and for us. We, the parents, bring them into our lives, in circumstances ranging from fortunate to difficult. With some assistance, or none, we do the best we can in their early years. At some point, we entrust a portion of their formal education to the educational community of the Tully Central School District, and we enroll them in Kindergarten.

From those tentative first steps as Tully students to their final jubilant ones as they “walk the stage” to receive their diplomas, we’ve followed a similar path as Esther did with her kittens. First doing almost everything for them, we teach them and train them to eventually do things for themselves, to be successful and confident young cats, er, people.

On June 23, I’ll watch my younger son and his friends and classmates stride with confidence across the stage to take the next, first really independent steps in their lives. While I have no illusions that they’ll be ready to completely fend for themsleves (they’ll, too, still need food and; oh, you get the idea), I’ll be filled with hope and optimism that they each will have the knowledge, skill, and confidence to learn new things and take on new challenges.

Thank you to our faculty and staff for your professionalism and commitment to their learning and development over the years. Thank you to all the parents of all of our students for your partnering with our staff for your children and for fostering learning in your homes. Thank you to our community for your financial and moral support of our schools and students. Congratulations to all of our students for your hard work and success in the past year—have a great summer!

And, of course, best of luck to all of our graduates. I know you can be wildly successful in any given endeavor to which you choose to commit yourself, as you go forth into that challenging world.


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