I always enjoy the exercise of considering what ‘one word’ will guide me throughout the year ahead. For the year 2020 my one word was ‘notice’ which seems even more relevant and meaningful than I had anticipated. With the pandemic driving decisions and impacting many aspects of school life and students’ well-being, I knew it was important to notice who and what needed my attention.
Over the past five years I have chosen my ‘one word’ for the most part through the lens of an educational leader. I wrote about ‘ownership’ in 2019, ‘opportunity’ in 2018 (when I first became principal of Rockridge), ‘voice’ in 2017 and ‘challenge’ in 2016.
In contemplating my one word for 2021 I couldn’t help but reflect on this past year and how events had impacted both my professional and personal life. Throughout 2020 we all had to re-think and make modifications to our daily routines. At school we thoughtfully planned how to make adjustments to the daily schedule while continuing to meet the needs of our students. Personally my biggest challenge was how to remain safely connected with all my family members who range from my six-month old grandson to my 88 year-old father.
During outdoor walks or FaceTime conversations with each of my three children, I asked them what one word would be applicable for them in 2021.
My oldest child Scott reflected on the milestones this last year, including the birth of their second child in July, greater responsibilities at work, and moving out of an apartment to accommodate his expanded family. His word for 2021 is ‘growth’. He looks forward to the day his nearly three-year old daughter heads to preschool, his son takes his first steps, and the moment both of his children can visit their great-grandfather in person.
My middle child Kelsey’s word for 2021 is ‘gratitude’. Although 2020 was fraught with challenges being a small business owner she coped admirably with the obstacles she encountered. It wasn’t a great year for her yet she appreciated how lucky she is to have her health, a reassuring and caring husband and a supportive family.
Lindsay has lived away from Vancouver for ten years – eight in Calgary and two in London, England. Thankfully she arrived home in October yet she had hoped to enroll in a MBA Program in Amsterdam. Her word for 2021 is ‘adaptability’. Although the pandemic threw a curve ball into her plans she is taking it all in stride and making changes as needed without begrudging these new circumstances. And her mother is quite happy to have her ‘baby’ around for a while!
For 2021 I am determined to remain grounded both personally and professionally. Thus my word for 2021 is ‘grounded’! Despite the uncertainty of the year ahead it is important to be positive, hopeful and calm. My colleagues, family and friends help me stay grounded and I am constantly reminded of the importance of the little things in life and how fortunate I truly am to live in a beautiful city. I am a leader in a forward-thinking school district and work with amazing educators who inspire me every day. I have the pleasure of working collaboratively with a supportive parent group on school initiatives and interacting with students who bring me energy and joy each and every day. And of course my family (including my two grandchildren of course) are pretty special.