Saying Goodbye to Heroes

My eight year stint as principal is coming to an end this month, and I’m finding it hard to say goodbye to my colleagues.

To my friends.

I am often reticent to use military analogies.  Terms like “heroes” and “warriors,” should be reserved for those who have experienced true moments of life and death, or have sacrificed neary everything for their cause or country.  Although an athlete, for example, can be a positive force by serving as a role model, I hesitate to call him or her a “hero.”

That said, having accepted a position with the National Board of Professional Teaching Standards, I have found myself “looking around the room.”   I’ve been thinking about those with whom I’ve had the pleasure to work and the profound impact they have on our children, and, subsequently, our nation.  Facing an uncertain climate, hostile politics, vasciliating policies, and the unending challenges attributable to the difficult profession they have chosen, many of the peers I leave behind have earned our admiration and respect.  They deserve to be viewed with a sense of awe.

My district is facing the most depleted talent pool in recent memory, as people leave the profession or avoid it in record numbers.  But this group stays on for the fight, committed to our children, regardless of the odds.  They are tired, overworked, underpaid, and poorly understood.   But, that’s what heroes do. They fight.  They don’t give up.

Those to whom I’m saying goodbye are, indeed, warriors.

And, they are heroes.


Mike Lee

Mike Lee

Phoenix, Arizona

I am the Director of Outreach and Engagement for The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, and certified as a Middle Childhood Generalist in 2004. In 2012, I received my doctorate in educational leadership from Northern Arizona University, however, I began my work in education serving as a para-educator in a special education program while still an undergraduate. My passions in the field include assessment and reporting strategies, the evolving role of technology, teacher leadership, and effective professional development that permanently impacts instruction. I consider myself a professional teacher first, as well as a professionally evolving lifelong learner, who is incredibly fortunate to have the opportunity to impact the lives of children.

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