This past Friday, I handed out my final iPad and talked to my students one last time before I left CLS after three years as technology facilitator for the school. Due to enrollment and budget cuts, I was told the news that my position was to be cut a week before the school year ended sending me down a new road that I have no idea where it will lead me. This wasn’t the first job I have had where my position was eliminated because of budget cuts. In fact, what lead me to CLS in 2012 was due to budget cuts and I was very happy that the situation had happened to put me on a path that lead me to a job that I loved every day. Where I saw both students and teachers become critical thinkers and saw amazing innovation happen in the classroom and in turn, I also grew as an educator. My three years at CLS saw me buying my house, creating App Dice, being lead on the path to get a doctorate and connecting with so many educators and classrooms around the world.
However, as we know, all good things must come to an end, but we don’t expect them to happen the way they due. It’s funny, in the last few weeks I started to pack up and make sure everything was tied up with a neat little bow before I left, I think I was busier than ever and saw myself find my way on top of some very hard days. Yet, during those hard days, I had such an outpouring of thanks from my staff and students and even parents as the news about my leaving became known. From trying to finish one last Genius Hour, to fixing another lost wi-fi signal to reading my new book to most of the elementary school. Those final days at CLS are some I will never forget and as I looked out my car window as I was ready to leave one last time, I smiled. While I do not know where the next chapter in my life will take me, I left CLS with no regrets. I made friends, memories and know I made a difference in all the students who I came to know and teach in the last three years. While I can’t name them all there was one message I was told to me by many of my students especially on my final day: “You encouraged me and made me believe in myself and that I could do anything. That’s what I’ll miss the most about you, Mr. Read, you never gave up on me.”
And I never will. Thank you all.