After prayerful consideration I have announced my retirement at the end of the academic year as Principal at Lake Country Lutheran High School (Hartland, WI). It seems like only yesterday that I told my family goodbye from our farm in Iowa and got into my ‘74 Mustang to begin my ministry in Ohio. Where did those 42 years go?
What distinguishes a top school or organization from another one or average one? When you really look at it, there is no one-size fits all solution that gets the great results you are looking for. There are, however, common qualities of success that one should be able to realize in every school or organization.
When God blesses a couple with children, life changes. Priorities are adjusted as the needs of the child replace the needs of the parents. Parents are so excited about their son or daughter; they see their child as amazing and beautiful. They desire what is best for their child and they begin to dream about the future and what they hope their child will become.
Someone asked Mother Teresa once how she could decide what to do with all the incredible needs she encountered. She replied, “I just do what is right in front of me.” I believe that is what God calls us to do, to minister to those right in front of us today even while recruiting the students of tomorrow.
In late August, 2017, the Houston-area faced catastrophic flooding caused by Hurricane Harvey’s rainfall, which was more than 51 inches. Houston averages around 49 inches of rain a year, so to receive a year’s worth of rain in a mere three days was devastating. Our school, Lutheran South Academy, a Pre-K through 12th grade campus, was especially hit hard from the flooding.
Just take another lap. That is what my wife Jenny told me. I quickly responded, “Why? I can’t get to the finish line in time and I am running SO slow. I am losing time.” She repeated, “Just take another lap.” And finally, after she repeated it about five times, I said fine, and I took another lap.
A terrific book for administrators and teachers alike, George Couros’ work is packed with innovative thought and best practices in regard to student learning. Lutherans especially can appreciate his contention that we are at a “printing press” moment in education. Yet, unfortunately, too many twenty-first century schools are inundated with twentieth century learning.
As is the case with many of you, we just completed our annual “Holiday Appeal” here at Lutheran High. It was a great success and one that will bring many blessings to our school throughout this year and beyond. Now for the twist…
During Christmas break this year, I had the opportunity to visit Las Vegas with my family. Despite protesting to my wife about leaving -7 degrees temperatures on New Year’s Day, I was obligated to help her complete one of her bucket list items.