“Snow Job” in Main Line Today (February, 2020).
As school superintendents wrestle with winter weather, here’s a letter they may want to keep close at hand…
I am writing to announce my immediate resignation as both your school superintendent and chief meteorologist.
My years as an educator have held countless blessings for me, memories which I will long cherish. The budget battles. The redistricting process. Implementing safety protocols and overseeing active shooter drills. Flexing my imminent domain muscles for new ballfields. Redistricting again. The school board meetings. State testing discussions. The lively transition to a new, non-offensive mascot. That whole embezzlement thing. All wonderful memories for which I express my sincere gratitude to you.
Alas, though my time serving you has been blessed with such wonderful memories, I regret that I can no longer serve as your chief meteorologist. Simply put, declaring a snow day – or not declaring one – has just become too much. My hair is falling out in tufts, my blood pressure is dangerously high, and the only sleep I get anymore is during school board meetings and high school holiday concerts. Both my doctor and my spouse say it’s in my best interest to quit. I’m afraid they’re right.
It’s not as though I haven’t tried to make it work, though. I have both Cecily Tynan and Adam Joseph on speed-dial. I study the Farmers’ Almanac like it’s a teachers’ union contract. I wake up at 3:00 A.M. every night from December through March and stand in the driveway in my pajamas, looking up at the sky. Our custodians do the same. We stick our tongues out to the dark sky and wait for a snowflake to land. If one does, we immediately call each other and, through chattering teeth, flip a coin. Heads, school’s off. Tails, school’s on.
At which point I trudge back into my warm house and quickly compose a clever snow-day poem or song with the hope that it might quell the parental storm that is about to hit.
It never does, for it’s a storm that has been building for days. Eyes are glued to the weather, bus stop chatter crescendos in anticipation, and texts are exchanged all week trying to predict both the weather and my decision.
It’s a high-pressure system and, much like when our high school football teams take the field, a no-win situation.
While some of you won’t let your kids ride an army tank to school in flurries, others will teach your young ones to skitch a ride on the bumper of a passing car along streets of ice. Some of you will have to call out of work to stay home with the kids, perhaps losing a day’s pay. Others will want to uncork the wine bottle you opened the night before in anticipation of a day of sledding, snowmen, and getting sloshed.
By the time my head has hit the pillow for the second or third time that night, the avalanche of texts, emails, tweets and Facebook posts have already begun to make their way to my office. Truth be told, parents, I’ve seen more common courtesy (and common sense!) exchanged on Trump’s Twitter feed than I have on our school district’s Facebook page the morning of a snow day.
With this in mind, I am happy to report that the school board has accepted my resignation, effectively immediately. A search committee has been formed to find your next superintendent.
Rumor has it Cecily Tynan is on the short-list.