Journey of a Superintendent: The Remarkable Impact of Teachers

Dr. Cynthia Lane, Superintendent of the Kansas City, Kansas Public Schools

November 14-18 is American Education Week. I encourage each of us to take time during this week to thank a teacher who made a significant impact on our lives. We all have memories of life lessons we carry with us each and every day that were sown by our teachers. I think of so many teachers from my childhood who helped shape my life. And I consider myself one of the luckiest people in the world to continue to be guided, mentored and coached every day by the extraordinary teachers serving our students in the Kansas City, Kansas Public Schools.

This past week, we inducted 12 of our graduates into our Alumni Honor Roll, which we call “Reasons to Believe.”  It was incredible to hear the honorees speak of the teachers who made a significant impact on their lives. As I listened to the remarks, I wished every teacher had the opportunity to hear and receive those same affirmations and appreciations from their students. I am sure from the expressions and responses I saw and heard, that the words of our alumni went right to the hearts of everyone in attendance. We honored graduates who are authors, coaches, sound technicians and financial specialists. They have trained our armed forces, started their own businesses, and overcome a number of obstacles to make their lives what they are. Without exception, the alumni spoke of teachers with high expectations and the courage to do whatever it took to help their students succeed. They spoke of the deep personal relationships they experienced with their teachers. The honorees recalled lessons learned that have carried them forward to very successful lives. It was a powerful experience – so powerful that at the end, the crowd stayed and continued to share stories of the remarkable impact teachers in the KCK Public Schools have made on their lives.

Let’s not allow another day go by without stopping to say “Thank you!” to a teacher, principal or support staff. As educators, more than any other profession, we truly can and do change lives.  Other professions add value too, but educators shape our futures. Take the time to thank a teacher. A simple appreciation is priceless and will encourage our teachers to continue inspiring our dreams.

So let ME say thank you, THANK YOU teachers, principals and staff of the Kansas City, Kansas Public Schools for the incredibly hard work you put forth each and every day. Thank you for caring so much for our kids and for doing whatever it takes to help our children realize their dreams. Thank you for realizing that “it’s up to us” to make a real difference, and every day you are doing just that.

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