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President's Message

It is difficult to believe that the 2016-2017 school year is to its midpoint already. The newness has worn off; the Fall season and all of its holidays and celebrations are coming to a close.  Now is the time we begin to focus on the events that lie ahead – cold weather, testing season, Spring Break, and plans for the next school year.  As I reflect on the year so far, I recall new beginnings, accomplished goals, lessons learned, relationships built, and plans made. It is very easy to get lost along the way with all of these activities going on.

The book Start with Why, by Simon Sinek, has been beneficial in helping me prioritize my time and focus on the most important goals.  Sinek states, “Any person or organization can explain what they do; some can explain how they are different or better; but few can clearly articulate why.  WHY is not about money or profit [or test scores] – those are results.  WHY is the thing that inspires us and inspires those around us” (p. 39).  It seems that many times, we get so caught up in “what” we are doing that we lose sight of “why” we are doing it.

Using Start with Why as a book study, North Georgia RESA has been “rebranding” and redefining our purpose and vision as an organization.  Our focus is on “Excellence in Educational Support.” The staff has discovered that our goals and activities must be centered on our beliefs and our WHY.  Individually, we are examining what our work should look like and ensure that we stay in alignment with our focus.

At the NCSM Winter Academy, Dr. John W. Staley, President of NCSM, challenged leaders to define our vision.  He asked, “How might we…. CHANGE THE TEACHING AND LEARNING OF MATHEMATICS SO THAT OUR STUDENTS NO LONGER GROW UP TO TELL ABOUT THEIR NEGATIVE EXPERIENCES IN MATH CLASS?”  What a powerful question! What an accomplishment this would be!  This has become MY focus.  Dr. Staley explained that:

  • The how part assumes there are solutions out there – it provides creative confidence.

  • Might says we can put ideas out there that might work or might not- either way, it’s okay.

  • The we part says we’re going to do it together and build on each other’s ideas.

  • This goal cannot be accomplished in one day or by one individual.  All of us are better than one of us.  We need all of our membership to work together - each of us doing our part.  I encourage each of you to ponder on what your role is and how we can continue to give each of our students more positive experiences in mathematics education.