A Message from the Superintendent
As I reflect upon the negative press that the teaching world has recently experienced, I am drawn to the quote of Jacques Barzun, a French-American writer and historian who said, “Teaching is not a lost art, but the regard for it is a lost tradition.” Too often we forget that an excellent education doesn’t just happen. It is the result of dedicated individuals who do more than just teach from a book; they teach from their hearts. They create relationships with students that are safe and secure. They include a variety of educational opportunities for students to interact with others, share ideas and find success. They spend countless hours learning new techniques and strategies in order to communicate effectively. They search out what they need to know and then do it to inspire students to build bridges of their own. Teachers truly effect eternity, for one never knows where their influence stops.
Over my career, I have always been amazed at the quick responses of candidates during the interview process when I ask them to tell me about their all-time favorite teacher and the reason why they chose that particular teacher. Without hesitation, they reply that it was the teacher who had the most impact on their lives! I have heard these same type of comments made by valedictorians and salutatorians as they give their graduation addresses. These students invariably refer to teachers who have transformed their lives.
As Superintendent, I believe that we have true artists in our classrooms upholding the traditions of educational excellence that our community values and expects. I have seen teachers agonize over struggling students, create “out of the box” activities and materials to engage even the most resistant of learners and challenge the minds of those students who refuse to stop asking “why.” The excellence signs in our buildings are a testament to the dedication and hard work of our teachers. Too often, we only hear about those schools with teachers who are failing to prepare students for the 21st Century. Without reservation, I would welcome the media’s spotlight in our classrooms and among our teachers. It wouldn’t take long for the newscasters to once again regard the teaching profession in high esteem.
It is my privilege to serve as Interim Superintendent as the district sets out on the very important task of selecting the next superintendent of Fairbanks Local Schools. As the district works through this process, I’d like to encourage you to take advantage of the various opportunities to provide your input into this process.
David F. Baits, Ph.D.