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Who is KM?
When I was in high school and college in the 1980s, the classic question adults always posed to my peers and me was: “What are you going to be when you grow up?” Based on our reply, we would backward design a path through post-secondary education and hope our personalities matched our decision. After all, we had the sobering assumption whatever we decided, we had to live with it.
Flash forward 40 years as I settle in as your new superintendent and it’s obvious to me the age-old query should no longer focus on the “what.” The more prudent question to ask your son or niece or granddaughter is “WHO are you going to be?”
“What” is a limiting label describing you and your job title, whereas “who” requires a dynamic identity encompassing the entire person, telling a broader (and much more interesting) story of the whole. You can still be a scientist or a welder or a teacher as your “what,” but when you add “collaborator,” “communicator,” “empathizer,” and “innovator” as you explain your “who,” the possibilities expand exponentially. In a world, and workforce, changing by the minute, I vote for dynamic and limitless as the best course for our present and future learners.
Which leads us to the inevitable questions when an organization undertakes new leadership. What is your vision for KM? What will KM be like in 10 years? To that, I say we should face the same question our 2021 graduates will surely face from uncle Stan and grandma Margie at graduation parties this June. The focus should also be on KM’s “who.”
So, who will Kettle Moraine be moving forward?
- We know we must continually strive for innovation, not for the sake of transformation itself, but rather to better prepare our learners for unknown challenges.
- We know social emotional development is an urgent priority and a must to develop the successful whole person.
- We know transferable skills, including creativity, problem solving, collaboration and analytical thinking, are crucial in every vocation.
And, most importantly, we know education changes students’ lives. I believe that is our biggest - and most valuable - “who” at KM. We as educators know our efforts foster student development allowing them to control their destiny. So, instead of having to “live with” a decision they make as a teenager, they learn to grow into self-directed, engaged adults who know learning is a life-long continuum. As is their “who.” And, after 13 years in KM schools, they can be WHOever they want to become - for their entire lives. That’s a fantastic vision - in my mind.