Since deciding to retire, I’ve often wondered – even worried – if I would leave a legacy at Sixes Elementary. When my daughters were young, I served my community as a Girl Scout leader. I learned that we must always leave a place better than we found it. I hope this will be my legacy at Sixes, that I left it better than I found it.
Some of the things I have been part of are tangible and visible, others are more intangible, things felt in the heart or recalled in the memories we have created together. I hope this farewell letter to the Sixes community will serve as a memoir of my time with you, and what we have accomplished together for your children, our teachers, and for our community.
I believe it takes a village. When I think about leaving Sixes better than I found it, I must mention the village that has helped me make so many positive changes. I can’t think of better people to work alongside! Together, we redesigned the school’s landscaping, created a hugely successful lunch walk program, and upgraded our playgrounds to make them safer and more fun. We purchased iPad carts for every grade level, and completely redesigned our media center, making it a space our students love to visit!
The gym received a much-needed facelift, the lunchroom has new tables, and floors throughout the school have been replaced. We have new bathroom stalls, new water fountains, freshly painted walls and improved parking. We created a teacher’s lunchroom where teachers are proud to gather for food and friendship. And we made our Starlight Café a place where cooking and cleaning can happen, as if we were at home. Together, our village organized a fundraiser to raise awareness for frontal temporal dementia and $10,000 to support Brandon English and his family. That’s a day I will never forget! To everyone who is part of this village – you know who you are – I can never effectively show my gratitude!
I always will consider myself a teacher. I love my teachers because I know their plight, I know their work, I know their hearts. As principal of Sixes, I spent many late nights preparing and creating things to show my teachers and staff my appreciation. From star ornaments and cookies, personalized door decorations, special T-shirts, lake picnics and staff field trips, to ice cream sundae bars and food trucks, to Pinterest-inspired surprises, I have told them thank you, have a great day, you are loved.
I did some silly things as Sixes’ principal … all for the kids. I kissed a pig, ate gross jelly beans, gave Mr. Cook a pedicure, and had eggs cracked on my head. I have been slimed, silly stringed, splashed, ice cream sundaed and pied in the face. I would do it all over again because it brought joy to my students, your children! Except, I probably would not eat the gross jelly beans again; at least not the dog food flavored one.
My most important job as principal has been to lead the way in curriculum and instruction. Perhaps, I am most proud of the legacy I leave behind in the curriculum initiatives I established. Our students look forward to STEAM Night. Science, Technology, Engineering, the ARTS and Math are FUN! Students who need extra help have STAR Time in the mornings, and those who don’t, get exposure to a variety of other activities, like writing, technology and readers’ theater.
All classes participate in weekly meetings focusing on a weekly theme related to character and kindness. Every Sixes teacher is certified as a Microsoft Innovative Educator, and I led by example, becoming a Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert. Sixes teachers are equipped with knowledge of Microsoft products, available to them and to your students, that bring real world learning to their fingertips. Most importantly, to me, I led our school in showing our community, our school district and our state, while they change the formula for grading schools nearly every year, Sixes is an A school!
The truth is, I am not unique. While I am proud of the legacy I leave at Sixes, I know principals and leaders across our school district are impacting their communities. Please tell them you appreciate their hard work. They don’t do it for glory or recognition. They do it because they love children.
And so it goes with me. The legacy I leave is all about my love for children, your children. And my love for their teachers and all who call themselves Sixes Stars. I hope, in the years to come, I can be found in the heart of Sixes, for I know Sixes will always be found in my heart. And so, to the Sixes community, I say thank you for eight years I will never forget! Once a Star, always a Star!
– Cindy Crews