Thursday, April 24, 2014

Good-bye Gilmer Elementary

Dear GES Teachers, Staff, Parents and Students,

This post comes to you with much gratitude for the time that I spent with you.  My last day at GES will be Tuesday, April 29, as I begin a new chapter in my career as the Director of Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment for Tatum ISD.  I am very excited about this new opportunity, but before I go, I would like to leave you with some final words of appreciation.

In the 3 years that I've been with you, our school experienced massive and positive transformation.  By working together everyday, we built amazing systems that fulfilled our Mission,

One Exceptional Team + One Exceptional Goal = One's Exceptional Future.  

As a team and as a family, our campus overcame obstacles by moving from the status of being an unacceptable school into being one of the top elementary schools this past year on STAAR.  This is a tremendous honor that makes me extremely proud of our staff and students.

But that's not what I'm going to miss about GES!

My Video Message to the Students of Gilmer Elementary School

Let me be clear.  Performance on a test does not make a school acceptable, unacceptable or even exemplary.  This campus was never unacceptable.  The thing that makes this place special is the relationships in our school.  The smiles, high-fives and positive energy from the kids are the things that make people wake up ready to make a difference at this school.  What people don't know about GES is that the teachers and staff work as a team in everything they do.  This school exemplifies its deep-rooted values everyday, so that we can reach our ultimate goal,

Every Student Learning at High Levels Everyday.

This school is very big in many ways, and I'm not talking about the enrollment of the school.  I'm talking about the size of our school's heart.  I will always treasure the countless stories of teachers and community members going above and beyond to help our students in need.  You can't do that without heart.  Our campus is enormous in its energy.  Everyday, excitement is permeating through our veins to make the day a great one for every kid.  Finally, GES is colossal in commitment.  It amazes me to watch our teachers create innovative plans and captivating activities that make students love learning.

So What will I take away with Me???

Working at GES has been one of the greatest learning experience of my life.  Because of this school, I have learned so much, but I can best sum it up with these few statements.
What Success Really Looks Like!
  1. Reading is everything.  All kids must be good readers to make it in life.
  2. Writing is fun, and if we teach kids to be great writers, they will be amazing thinkers.
  3. Math is different in the eyes of every kid, and our instruction should match that.
  4. Science and social studies are best learned when we experience it, not read about it.
  5. The most important leadership question that all of us can ask is "How Can I Help You?"
  6. Teachers are the hardest-working people in the world, and they deserve our support and appreciation.
  7. The most important skill we can teach kids every day is the value of good character.  All the instruction in the world is worth nothing without a good character.
In closing, I would like to thank Mr. Albritton for giving me the opportunity to come to Gilmer.  He is a class act and a fantastic superintendent.  This district is very fortunate to have him at the helm.  Thank you to the Board of Trustees who are selflessly committed to kids in every decision that they make.  Thank you to the administrators, teachers and staff for being the epitome of the word, team.  All things are possible when a school has a dedicated team of individuals working together to achieve a common goal.  Thank you to GES parents for your continuous support and for trusting us with your most precious asset, your child.  And finally, thank you to the students.  You bring joy to my life, and you have so much potential to change the world.  I hope that you never forget that the power you possess can make this world a thousand times better than it is today.

For Kids,

John Wink

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