Be well, do good work, and keep in touch. ~Garrison Keillor
My boss, colleague, mentor, and most importantly, friend is retiring. Tomorrow is Mark Flynn's last day as Superintendant of the Merton Community School District. I am saddened by his retirement, but at the same time happy for him that he is moving onto the next chapter in his life.
Mark has been an inspiration to me throughout my eight years in education. When I was a student teacher at Merton, I never thought he would touch my life like he has. He has a knack of making everyone feel welcome, while still challenging them to be better every day. From day one as a student teacher, I understood that Mark is a big picture guy who moves people into the right place to solve problems. As a leader, he understands each individual’s talents, and sets them up for success.
I applied for a job with Merton soon after I finished my student teaching. I came in second to a more experienced teacher for the position. Merton and Mark could have given up on me. Mark called me at home and told me he had just put a good word in for me at a neighboring district and thought I would be a good fit. Fortunately for me, Merton had another opening pop up a week later and I was hired. It is not often a Superintendant calls a college kid at home to tell him about a job.
Over the past eight years, Mark has challenged, pushed, and put me in leadership positions as a teacher. He has instilled confidence in me and put his faith into my teaching practices and efforts to make Merton a relevant school in the 21st Century.
A couple of years ago when I was going through a rough spot in my personal life, Mark was supportive and told me he would help me. He did. I will be forever grateful for his willingness to just listen to me vent, speak, or give the advice I needed.
Mark Flynn, thank you. That is all I can say. Your imprint on my life will be everlasting!