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We are all in this together!
It is amazing that six years have passed since I swore my first oath to serve as a Reading School Committee Member. There has not been a dull moment and through everything, I have been continually inspired by the expertise, insights, dedication, and caring of our staff, administrators, parents, and fellow School Committee Members. This continues to this day as I witness our schools respond to the new threat of the Coronavirus. This situation is unprecedented and our school administration and staff are rising to the challenge, giving their all as the situation changes by the hour.
I give my heartfelt thanks to the teachers, team leaders, department heads, and principals who have made the time and found the energy to prepare detailed presentations and answer our endless School Committee questions after devoting themselves all day to our children, starting in the early morning and often finishing late into the evening.
Likewise, my gratitude goes to our administrators and Superintendent who continually problem-solve how to provide the best education possible for our children; stretch our funding; support our staff; and collaborate with Town Officials to grapple with ever-changing student, curriculum, space, security, facility, and health needs. They do all this while they also initiate and reply to phone calls, do research, and prepare presentations to ensure that the School Committee and the public understands the intricacies of the options as well as their solutions. Our Superintendent, Assistant Superintendent, Chief Financial Officer, Executive Administrator, and Pupil Services and Facilities Directors,– you and your staff have never ‘just done your job’, you have all given so much more of yourselves. I am humbled by you – John, Chris, Gail, Jen, Joe, and Linda, as I have been with Carolyn, Craig, and Sharon.
I know that it is impossible to make everyone happy and that communication is challenging, requiring repetition and clarification for those who enter the conversation at different times with different prior sources, backgrounds, and expectations. I know that in this world of social media, it is hard to keep up with the questions raised, the insatiable appetite for information, and the unfettered opportunities for sharing opinions publicly. I am humbled by all of your commitment and investment in our children, in our schools, and in our community. This also includes all of the School Committee Members with whom I have served and those who have risen to take the responsibility of Chair. Thank you for all you have done for the Reading Public Schools and for me throughout my tenure on the School Committee. It has been an honor to serve with the incredible team that sits around the table at every School Committee Meeting.
I would be remiss not to mention the incredible people of Reading that I have met throughout my time engaged with the schools. I have been continuously motivated, empowered, and inspired by the engagement and knowledge of so many of you – whether you work with the schools and our community, whether you are parents or students, whether you are the news media and RCTV covering our meetings, or whether you are living, working, worshipping, shopping, or exercising next to me around town. Thank you!
I feel truly honored by those who entrusted me with serving Reading’s students, our families, our community, and our staff. At the MA Association of School Committee Conferences, the importance of relationships has been consistently stressed as the key ingredient to successful education. I have lived this – I am so grateful for all of the people whom I have gotten to know and care about through this journey, and who so generously have expressed their caring and support of me, as they devoted their own time and resources beside me. I cannot tell you how much this has meant to me – Thank you!
The reality is that Reading is blessed with people who care. My fervent hope is that all folks who obviously care and want to be part of the district’s evolution fight the urge to postulate and vent on Facebook, and instead recognize the complexity of the system with which we are all involved, and connect with our staff for conversation and collaboration. We all need to find a way to consistently listen with our heads and our hearts. This would lead to a healthier dynamic for everyone.
Thank you so much to all of you for this opportunity to serve the town that I love. I wish the best to our new and returning School Committee Members at this challenging time. I look forward to volunteering with you all in the coming years, just from a different seat.
With Appreciation and Wishes for Good Health to All,
Linda Snow Dockser, Ph.D.
110 Beaver Road, Reading, MA
March 18, 2020