2016 Was My Leap Year


I took a leap this year. After 18 years as an elementary principal in one Minnesota school district, I applied to, was interviewed for, and became the principal at Gatewood Elementary in the Hopkins Public Schools, the district in which I live, pay taxes, and vote.

Making a change after being in a district for nearly two decades was daunting, but I looked at the opportunity as a chance for me to reflect, learn, and grow.

I had to reflect on my reasons for a change and the skill set I could bring to a new district and school. My former district prepared me well and gave me experiences in equity work, digital learning, climate and culture, and instruction and learning, all valuable in my new position.

I have learned a lot about myself and two school systems: my former district and my new district. I’m learning about a new school community and district, new staff members and colleagues, and new students and families. I’m also learning what my priorities and expectations are in helping all students achieve success.

Finally, making this leap has allowed me to grow. I’ve been able to think and ask critical questions, reach out for advice and support from my PLN, and try new ideas and possibilities. It’s fun trying new things in a new school.

If you are ever contemplating a change, don’t be afraid. Reach out to me and I will listen and share my experiences.

One of my favorite musicals is Wicked and one of my favorite songs is “Defying Gravity”. One of the lines in the song is, “It’s time to trust my instincts, close my eyes and leap.” I’m so happy that 2016 was my leap year!

3 thoughts on “2016 Was My Leap Year

  1. Mark, CONGRATULATIONS on your “leap and learning.” I am happy for you! I too believe in the value of learning from change. I am sure those who work with you now will learn from you as many did in District 279.

  2. Pingback: #OneWord 2017 – Principal In Balance

  3. Congratulations Mark on taking that leap. I think as we get older, those leaps are harder and harder to do, but but oh so important for us to grow in our learning. I applaud you Mr French! …Job well done…

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