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When I first came to Santa Ana Unified, I was looking forward to seeing innovation in instruction as a program specialist of Personalized and Blended Learning, and I was fortunate to have a chance to speak at a principal meeting. At the time, I was reflecting on the importance of stories to share vision and help pave the way forward. Because I was largely introducing myself rather than talking about projects or initiatives, I decided to tell a personal story, a family story.
Stories help us remember.
Here is the story I told.
“I’d like to tell you a story. Is that okay?”
“My great, great grandfather came to this country from Germany when he was 16 years old. He up and left his family behind in the small German village where he grew up, and he boarded a ship, crossing the Atlantic Ocean with only $7 to his name, knowing no one in America, outside of the vague knowledge that a cousin sometime, somewhere had come before and was living there. He made his way to Nebraska, where he could afford land, and after working for a variety of farmers, he saved up money to buy his own land.”
“The county where he lived had no electricity. My great, great grandfather worked to bring electricity to his county and, having come from a far away land, speaking no English, he succeeded in bringing electricity to the county, improving the lives of all who lived there.”
So, this is the people I come from.
We are pioneers. I have this same spirit of innovation and exploration.
As early as 1995, I was creating a teacher website on AOL.com and using AOL Instant Messenger to provide online tutorials in the evening to help students improved their writing. It is with this pioneer spirit, that I come to Santa Ana. I want to explore new territory, new instructional ground. If you share that same pioneer spirit, let’s join and explore together.”
Stories help us cast vision for where we are heading.
Albert & Emilie, wedding day, 1894