Change of Plans

Six years ago I went on a white water rafting trip in Pennsylvania with a group of friends. Before jumping into our rafts, we received a boatload of instructions. One of the hidden dangers, we were told, was that choppy water could unexpectedly hit the raft and knock someone out of it. It seemed a bit strange until we were on the river and, sure enough, as the raft was coming down after crossing over a significant whitecap, a splash of water hit under my corner of the raft and over the side I went. I was caught completely unaware and tumbled around in the river a bit before finally surfacing.

I have been reliving that moment the last few days as I was let go from my position with the community center. You will recall in my last post how I described the friction between the Executive Director and me. Despite our full enrollment, the launching of a satellite program at a local school, and satisfaction of the kids, teachers, parents, and board of directors, the program will apparently be better managed in someone else's hands.

So that's that. It is embarrassing, of course, but it does not seem fair to only write about how well this experience is going. If I am going to rave about the good stuff, I should have spine enough to share the bumps and bruises too. And this one is a doozy. Especially when it has been handed down by someone I judge to be emotionally immature, unable to respect boundaries, and who relies heavily on positional authority for lack of any real moral authority. In short, a bad leader.

Aside from that, I will miss the team I assembled. They are a great crew doing right by the students. Indeed, one of them even dropped me a line with some great words of encouragement: "If you ever need someone to work for you again, call me. I will be there immediately." Thanks, Miguel.

I will miss my co-workers too. Though the community center was not their focus, they were there to help out a lot.

And I will miss the kids. In just a few short weeks they managed to find a special place in my heart. I am by no stretch a principal in the formal sense, but that is how some of them referred to me. They made me laugh. They made the tough stuff a lot more bearable.

So what next?