Farewell to CFLA

December 6, 2013 will be my last day at CFLA as I have accepted a position with Florida Virtual School. 

Opportunities avail themselves at the most inopportune moments sometimes. The reason I am making this move has little do with what I do at CFLA or who I interact with daily here -- despite the challenges of frustrating events from time to time, nothing that has happened at the school has given cause to my decision. Rather it is about that illusive thing we see as our destiny. You might not fully understand this, but I know that education is transforming and that in this transitional state many are those who try to take control of the process: some to slow it down or even try to stop it altogether, some who want to propel it down paths of dubious destinations. 

I think CFLA's attention to a critical shortage in our society, character, is necessary and admirable. When I signed on with this outfit three and a half years ago, it was the first time I had been in education that I felt comfortable about what I was doing since I left the Marine Corps. The difference is that Marines can demand honor and respect and integrity in those who would seek to earn the title "Marine." At CFLA we can expect and nurture those same things -- but we cannot demand them from our prospective scholars. That is the painful truth and challenge teachers everywhere in the public arena face everyday. On those all-too-brief moments that your riders are firmly in control of your elephants, you scholars of mine know this is the reality of your day-to-day interactions with your teachers. Eventually you will come to the inevitable conclusion we all do -- that those who are hardest on us ultimately can make us better than we, by ourselves, aspire to be -- and most of the time they love us too. 

I love that my students transformed to scholars. I love every scholar that has ever sat in my classroom. I love that I Iearned as much from them as I could teach. I loved those moments their riders were in full control, but I fully admit that I loved to see their elephants tromping through the swamp riderless from time to time. I loved the moment they realized that the universal answers to just about everything lies in the response to challenges -- not only for ourselves, but for entire empires, nations, societies and even mankind.

So here is just another personal challenge: what do you do now that I will no longer be there everyday and someone new will come in to pick up the torch? Some will certainly cheer, others will fall victim to some form sorrow. I would hope that you neither celebrate nor wail -- but just Keep Calm and Carry On.