The Bridge to Anywhere
There are no guarantees in life, but wherever you want to go or can imagine going, education is probably the best way there. How does a child in Kindergarten one day become an architect? How does a grade nine student become an arthroscopic surgeon or an agriculturist? How does one become an electrician or a chef? You guessed it - education. This is why I often describe education as the bridge to anywhere.
Education is certainly not limited to the confines of school. As Superintendent, it is the opportunity of school that is of particular interest to me. Our core business is that of developing human potential. Imagine if we could bend the trajectory of human life so that it could soar to greater heights. What if we could do this systematically for every person? For me, this is not some fantastical ideal. This is the promise of a high-performing public school system. It is also the work I have been committed to for almost three decades. And I couldn't be more excited to engage in this work for Abbotsford.
Our vision is bold. We want to deliver a world-class, innovative, and individualized educational experience to ensure a lifetime of success. Strong foundations in literacy and numeracy are paramount. So, too, is a commitment to ensuring students acquire the knowledge, skills and attitudes that will allow them to flourish in an ever-evolving world. Modern learning is so much more than memorizing and spelling. The future requires that students know how to think critically, communicate effectively, solve problems creatively, and, yes, collaborate meaningfully and adapt skillfully.
Abbotsford is a wonderfully diverse community. Our students come from unique backgrounds and circumstances. Our first task is to make sure all students feel safe and welcome. We learn best when we feel connected and supported. We also want our students and families to see themselves reflected in school and the community. I am committed to ensuring students receive an education experience that uplifts and values their uniqueness. Where barriers exist, we will do our best to remove them.
When the board of education first asked me to share my vision, I spoke about a culture of thriving. About students thriving. Teachers thriving. Management and support staff thriving. I spoke about the feeling that happens when you wake up each day energized and excited, and ready to engage. This is the environment I am hoping we can create for every person in our system.
The desire to create and sustain a thriving culture is no easy task. The list of pressures and constraints is long. But I choose to face challenges with a dogged and determined optimism, the kind of optimism that is hard-wired to seek out opportunities and possibilities when things get tough. This is a critical part of what leadership is. And thriving is contagious. Which means we can all play a part. We can hold different views but still be civil and respectful of each other. Something as simple as remembering to show a little kindness in our daily interactions can go such a long way. I invite all of you to help us as we strive for a culture of thriving.
I am inspired by my work and the work we collectively do in education. As Superintendent, I plan to invest in our community and build strong connections. I look forward to working with Semá:th First Nation and Mathxwí First Nation and those in the Metis community, to learning more about the history of the lands, and to supporting our Indigenous learners and all learners as we embed Indigenous history and ways of knowing into our curriculum.
I bring with me an unwavering commitment to excellence and, yes, a vision for the future of education that remains unabashedly optimistic. Education is, after all, the bridge to anywhere.