As I often find myself at the end of a month, I am sitting here the Monday before Thanksgiving working to write the newsletter message. Topics and thoughts could go a million directions, but below is where I was most drawn.

Regardless of where we are and what we do, there are always struggles before us, be it in our professional or our personal lives. Struggles while often frustrating and scary, once persevered make us stronger and provide us with a deeper appreciation of the joys in our lives.

When I reflect on what I am thankful for there are many things. Besides my family and our health, much of it now ties back to here, West Burlington Independent Schools. From thoughts of little things to big matters there is much to find joy in and thus be thankful for.

From the elementary students who visit me just about every day after school to discuss a multitude of topics including albino squirrels to the high school students who knew their lines of “The Wizard of Oz” so well they could recite them in the green room when the audio wasn’t working through the live feed. They were so fun to watch.

From the staff member who has gone out of their way to make us feel personally welcome to everyone who is so forgiving when I still grasp to remember which name goes with which person. Name-to-face recognition is not my greatest strength, so this is deeply appreciated.

From the administrators, directors, staff, and students who are eager to help me learn the history and ways of West Burlington to their same eagerness to learn from my experiences. And too, from the questions of “Why?” to the responses of “Oh, I get it now.”, there is so much to find thankfulness in.

Our directors, our administrators, and our staff are excellent to work with, to problem-solve with and to learn with. Our teachers are amazing and are dedicated to our children, to their work and to each other.

Finally, I am thankful for our board and their commitment to this district and for the community they represent. Without our parents and our community members we could not do what we desire for our children.

As so often, our blessings far outweigh our struggles. Maintaining this as part of our mindset as we move throughout our lives is our challenge.

Over the next week, during the holidays that are before us and throughout the next year, I encourage all of us to take time to reflect on the joys we have (and we all have them) and give thanks. And to remember that the struggles of life give us the opportunity to refocus on what is important…those things of which we give thanks.