Fall has always been my favorite season of the year. I enjoy summer and like a good snow storm (as long as it comes on the weekend), but there is nothing like leaves changing color, crops being harvested, and spending a Friday night watching a HS football game. Fall means school is in full swing and that extra hour of sleep comes at just the right time as we recover from extra inning Brewer games that go late into the night. It’s also tough to beat a Thanksgiving meal shared with friends and family as we reflect on the blessings in our lives.

My list of “thanks” far exceeds the space available in this newsletter, but please allow me to highlight a few things which have been on my mind recently. First, I am thankful for the United States of America. In the past several weeks I was able to witness the naturalization ceremony for one of our staff members at the Federal courthouse in Milwaukee. Part of the judge’s message included the following statement:

Today, each of you will receive something that many people in other parts of the world would do anything to obtain – US citizenship.

The reality of that sentence hits home and reminds me that I should never take for granted something which was given to me at birth, but earned by others and protected through the sacrifice of so many over the years. That sacrifice is also honored in fall as our district hosts several events which recognize our Veterans for their service. I have many favorite school things, but it’s difficult to think of something better than our annual Veteran’s Day program at the elementary school. Not a year goes by that I don’t gain a renewed respect and appreciation for the costs associated with freedoms that are not always fully appreciated.

Finally, I am thankful to have known Karri Krier. I had the privilege of knowing Karri as a student in my science classroom, as a MS aide, and as a Junior Kindergarten and 4th grade teacher. In each of those settings – and pretty much anywhere you saw Karri – she provided a great example of how we should view life. I don’t remember seeing Karri without a smile and usually that smile was accompanied by an infectious laugh. Karri had a powerful combination of being a learner who poured herself into others. She flat-out worked hard and always wanted to improve. I had the privilege of being Karri’s teacher, but find myself thankful for what I learned from her.

I hope that each of you enjoy this holiday season, and thank you for entrusting us as we partner together in fulfilling our mission to ensure that all students learn at high levels allowing them to become positive contributors to society and our world.