Friday, November 22, 2013

Happy Anniversary to Me!

Twenty years ago today I walked into MY first full time classroom at Alimacani Elementary to 28 third graders. I still remember how nervous I was and how excited they were to finally have a teacher. Mike, Stirleen, Ryan, Rodsheika, Shannon, and Laura (who teaches for me now!). I could name them all. I learned way more from them that they ever probably learned from me. I wouldn't trade one day I've spent in a school these past twenty years for any other profession. Here's to twenty more!

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Evacuation Drill!

In just over 10 minutes today we moved an entire school - 1450 folks, the "bomb" bucket, and the entire clinic to our off site evacuation area. Our neighbors at Chets Creek Church welcomed us with open arms and a treat to return to school with. It went exceptionally well and we now know exactly what parts of the plan should be tweaked. I was a proud principal today - the kids were perfect!!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Medically Trained and HERE to Assist!

This afternoon this crazy group all became certified in Infant, Child and Adult CPR and First Aid! To cover all the bases in a school our size means that 13 of us did the coursework, completed the skills demonstration and took a written test - and PASSED! I pray we NEVER have to use these skills but feel confident knowing that no matter the emergency there are folks on hand prepared and willing to respond at the Creek! 

Monday, September 30, 2013

It's Time to PLAY!

Loved being able to deliver brand new playground bags filled with fun to all our Kindergarten and First Grade classes today! The kids were so excited!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Fellowship 1st

So much has happened to my school family already in this short year. A start I hope never to repeat. So in honor of getting through the first round of Open Houses, the first Standards Based Bulletin Boards and the half way point of the first quarter Krispy Kreme doughnuts on me where definitely in order this morning. Part of living the Creek LIFE means putting Fellowship 1st!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

My Favorite Part of the Day

We have so many K walkers this year we had to implement a new policy to ensure everyone was safe and accounted for. I'm the go between from Grandma Ellis at the door and the holding room for students. With a walkie and a clock I can run dismissal from anywhere so my new perch has been the NE favorite part of the day!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

She Left at Dismissal...

At 3:15 this afternoon all 1296 students exited school for dismissal. 1295 of them walked the halls towards the car line or bus loop or extended day. They shared silly stories, laughed at each other, worried about homework - acted like kids. And then 1departed our school forever. 

Three days following a tragic accident our sweet little Linda left us at dismissal, peacefully. Losing this child has been the hardest thing I have experienced as a principal, by far. I am worried about my teachers, staff, parents, Linda's family, the community and especially my children. It will be crucial that our Chets family stick together and take care of each other in the days and weeks and months ahead.   

As I think about how difficult this week has been I also realize how appropriate it is that today she left at the same time, right along with all her friends...

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Because There Really Is No Such Thing As A Vacation

When you're the Principal there really is no such thing as a vacation. I am responsible 24/7/365. I am totally ok with that. It means fielding phone calls and texts about problems while waiting on a parade to begin at my alma mater. It means traveling to Starbucks at 10:30 at night to send out the weekly Memo because there is no Internet on the mountain at my mother in law's. it was a nice night for a drive and my teenager was a great assistant! 

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

They Go - I Go

My greatest responsibility is making sure my kids are safe and feel safe. I hate when one gets hurt or sick. It breaks my heart. I never let one of my kids go by ambulance to the hospital alone. Today was one of those days when I was reminded why...

Friday, August 23, 2013

First Flag Raising

The only time my whole school can assemble at once is Flag Raising. It's our opportunity to participate in the patriotism that makes our country so special!!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Positive Postcard Wednesday!

Today was our first Positive Postcard Wednesday! Each week every teacher is given a postcard to write to one stakeholder. These co-teaching first grade teachers decided to send out a handwritten welcome to every student in their class! Leading with <3 AND Emphasizing the +!! Love the Creek Life!!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

First Fire Drill...Check!

May have been the quickest and most organized ever! If its ever for real we've got all the bases covered! 

Monday, August 19, 2013

The Door

Every year I station myself at the front door for the two most important times of the day - arrival and dismissal! I LOVE to welcome all the smiling faces, full of excitement and curiosity about what the year has in store. I LOVE being tackled at the end of the day with excitement and stories about day. I always hate though that this means I only see the car riders or those walking in. This year I'm going to rotate doors. Tomorrow morning - bus loop door!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

The Night Before

This evening I toured every single classroom of my incredible school. There are no words to adequately describe what I saw. I work with the best there is. Hands down. My extraordinary teachers have created the most engaging learning environments for students. I just stood in every room with my mouth hanging open. There are no luckier students or principal for that matter...

Saturday, August 17, 2013


Didn't realize quite how much I missed the kids until I saw their precious smiles and heard the WHOAS as they entered school for Orientation and saw what the new theme is for the year. It was an amazing day!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

The Walk

Tonight before I left school KK and I did the walk...the one we always take the night before Orientation to take care of all the "bits and pieces" that end up in strange places around the school. It's always funny to find a random chair or broom stuck in the strangest place. Tonight was different, I was pushing a stroller with my two year old in it. She only flipped out when we had to ride in the elevator. Even she knows that's an iffy experience! The hallways look amazing! My incredible teachers have outdone themselves creating the most welcoming environments for students. I lost count of the teachers I saw hours after the end of their paid work day attending to the finishing touches.  I am constantly reminded about how extraordinary this group of people are. Their dedication and talent amazes me. It was a walk to remember...

Wednesday, August 14, 2013


Enrollment is a delicate balance between class size requirements and budget. Today we hit 1275. 1280 was my "safe" number for meeting budget. After 13 years of working on budget I just KNOW. I predict 1300...the more the merrier. 

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Monday, August 12, 2013

First Day!

It was WILD but WONDERFUL to spend the day living the Creek Life where we Lead with Heart, Innovate the Core, put Fellowship 1st and Emphasize the +! From Team Intros to the Urban Goose Chase at the Zoo the day was fun! We learned a lot about each other and built TEAMS ready to step out into the WILD! 

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Chets Creek is an A School!

For the 13th year running I am proud to report that Chets Creek Elementary earned an A grade! I am so proud of the hard work and dedication of our teachers, staff, students and parents. There is nothing quite like having outstanding work recognized!! 

Monday, May 20, 2013

That's a Wrap!

Next year's introductory theme video has been shot and thanks to modern technology has been dropped into the hands of our video master and former Creeker Eric Blair Extraordinaire a mere 5 states away! Happy birthday Eric - hope you liked the extra special footage from the end...

Thursday, May 9, 2013

And a Roster is Born...

Putting together the roster is like working a giant ever changing jigsaw puzzle where every move impacts another. Had to wait until the baby went to bed to "play" around with it tonight!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

When the Plate Overflowith...

Every day so much happens and I often catch it in a picture and then never get to post. Sometimes it's because I can't talk about what was really on my plate and other times its because my plate was so full that life overwhelmed me so tonight here's a few pics that represent posts that never made make up the commentary! :)

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

So...Tell Us About Yourself...

Today I interviewed potential new hires and I was encouraged! There were so many good candidates with so much potential. It's so interesting to hear about veteran teachers' experiences and exciting to listen to that new college graduate talk about waiting and wanting to live out their life's passion. The most unique experience of the day was a Skype interview with a teacher in Arizona! It was a great day full of possibilities!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Aunt Peggy

Below is a memorial to my precious Aunt Peggy that will be dedicated tomorrow. Having had the opportunity to serve as the crossing guard on several occasions I am in awe of her years of dedication. What a true gift of service! Love and miss you Aunt Peggy!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

I Scream...You Scream...We All Scream...For READING!

The Ice Cream Truck arrived just in time Friday to help me dispense over 1200 treats to celebrate all the students who met Goal 3 in our Readers to Leaders Campaign to have each student read 1,000,000 words this school year. 750,000 down - 125,000 to go!!!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The Things That Stick

This morning I dropped my high schooler off knowing she was facing the tough state assessment - the one that has an impact on graduation. She was nervous so I spent some time this morning calming her. To this day she won't take the assessments without using the "special" Chets pencils. :) I quickly turned my attention to some of my other "babies" I knew were also tackling this last test. I texted the ones I still have contacts for and received the response below. It made my whole day. I can't tell you the whole story because its between me and the kids but it reminded me how important words of encouragement and gestures of support are to our children, even years later. Those things stick. Once a Creeker, always a Creeker.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Day 1 is Done!

I love getting to give one last pep talk to my babies before the test as I go around and collect the tech. The HEAVY tech! I know some were nervous but they are beyond ready. Today was all about being of our mothers had her "water" break in the car loop today! A future Creeker ready and on the way. It was a good day.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013


Today...I was the crossing guard...I had an observation where a chicken laid me an egg...I was happy I could answer all the 5th grade math problems correctly...I ordered classroom materials for teachers...I welcomed a whole new group of prospective Kindergartners. It was a great day to be a Principal. :)

Monday, February 25, 2013

It's All About The Pencil

Today I delivered THE pencils...THE FCAT WRITES pencils and a pep talk to my fourth graders. I was greeted by so many smiles today, kids who are confident because they have all the ingredients for success!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

It's Due, Maybe...

I had to step away from the Daily Special for a little while.  Life kinda took over and left me with half done posts or pictures but no words or just some days where I couldn't possibly write about the biggest item on my plate for the day, nicely.  But as of today - I'm back!

Beyond being a Principal I'm a wife, mother, sister, aunt, sister in law, niece and cousin and I get it when life overwhelms and you just have to take a step back, breathe deeply and prioritize. I feel a little like everyone cycles through times like that and now seems to be that time for us at Chets have a choice.  That board that's due Friday, well you can go ahead and do it OR you can wait and put one up on April 5 (there isn't another one scheduled until May 8 and it's the Work Over Time board).  Do it now or if you need the breather, do it later. It's my offering of undersanding the stress we are all under.

Look for fun to come in the next few weeks.  I think we all need to laugh a little more, enjoy each other and take some time to breathe. It'll be fun to see who actually reads this blog...:)

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Mother On The Mind

Here's a post from 1/5 that never made it to publishing. Not exactly sure why but it fits today... Happy Mother's Day!

Today I've thought about my own mother a lot. She's been gone 16 years and there isn't a day that goes by that some little thing doesn't remind me of her. What triggered it today was my own journey as a mother. Balancing the needs of my children with the demands of the job is tough sometimes and today I had to stop everything to make some adjustments. The day had to be re-prioritized, immediately and action taken. My mother could problem solve better than anybody I've ever known and when I went into that mode today I could see her smiling.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Hard Day's Night

There is so much to a principal's job and some times it happens after school hours. Tonight I got to update our SAC with a mid year status report...long day but worth it at Chets!!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Full Circle

This awesome young man started at Chets the year we opened in Kindergarten. Today he applied to work in our Extended Day Program as an instructor while he finishes his criminal justice degree! Love it when I get to see the circle complete...

Thursday, January 10, 2013

A Tale of Two Observations

The day started with the formal observation for PE. Outside in the fog...not my typical location but the steering wheel of the golf cart held up my iPad for typing just fine. Do you know the difference between a chest and a bounce pass in basketball? I do!

Another location for today has great sentimental value for me. It was in my last classroom as a teacher. I miss Kindergartners and the funny way they see things and the excitement over the simplest thing. They don't even realize they are learning some sophisticated life lessons every day. Do you know the difference between force and motion? I do!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

The Magic Number

I believe we've hit another record in the last 5 days...33 new students joining the Chets family! I'm excited to have each one and can't wait to meet them all. My goal is to have them feel just like the student who yelled out to me in the lobby last Friday morning, "I love this school". I couldn't agree more!

Friday, January 4, 2013

The Highlight of My Day

The past couple of mornings I have stationed myself just inside the front doors so I could welcome my kids back to school with a smile and a good morning. Today as I stood there greeting them one of the children yelled out "I love this school"as he walked by. Right then and there I was overwhelmed with the reminder of why I love my job. I'm the luckiest principal on the planet!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Our Front Line

This wonderful group of volunteers mans our front lobby desk a part of each day and I got to spend time with them this morning going over safety and security policies. I am beyond grateful for their willingness to be the front line for us and the first friendly faces once you are inside our doors. Budget cuts made them a necessity but I consider them family!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013