My Death is Near. Roughly 13.1 Miles Away.

A week from today I will run a half marathon.

Run is probably too strong of a word.

Crawl is probably far more appropriate (and I think you still get a medal).

As I’ve grown older, I have come to realize my time on Earth is limited.  Like all living creatures I am faced with my own mortality.

One day we are born.  One day we will die.

In between we deal with lots of crap at work.

So while it’s no surprise to me what the future holds, I have always assumed I would go out in a certain fashion.

A disease I can’t pronounce.

Being trampled in the hallway by a group of over-exuberant 1st graders.

Poisoned (I would name the possible suspects, but the list is far too long).

A victim of a beagle attack because I didn’t get him his precious bowl of dog food quickly enough (if I go out with paw prints on my throat… please have the FBI take a real hard look at Buddy the Dog).

Dying from shear boredom at a meeting (this may just be wishful thinking on my part).

Swimming lessons.

It’s hard to tell what will eventually get me, but it’s going to happen.

I just didn’t think it would come so soon.

But as fate would have it, my time here is coming to a close.

Seven short days from now I will line up with a group of strangers, a gun will go off, and about 2 hours and 30 minutes later I will die in a pool of my own sweat and tears.

Or at the very least I will wish I were dead  (please don’t judge me, there’s nothing wrong with a grown man sobbing as he tries to catch his breath as he lies face down in a gutter).

You may be asking, do I have any final thoughts?  Any last words of wisdom?  Some tidbit of guidance for new school administrators as I move on to nicer or hotter pastures.


I’ve got nothing, but troubles of my own.

But I do have a video that perfectly illustrates what I will be thinking as I run towards the bright light (jog… walk… crawl… limp… ride in a back of a medical golf cart… whatever).

My last hope is my pain brings the readers of this blog a moment or two of amusement.

Thank you for your support.  And please don’t feel sorry for me.

It’s been a good run (probably a bad choice of words).

I will see you at the finish line.  Or not.



My guess is runners will find this hilarious.  And non-runners will never take up running because of this.

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Spring Break for Old People.

Spring Break is here.Sweet Sweet Spring Break.

Thank goodness.

About I week ago, I was contemplating changing careers to something easier if I didn’t get a few days off.

Jobs I was considering:  logger, coal miner, or human cannonball.

All would be safer than school administrator.

But as luck would have it, Spring Break has arrived!

I won’t be heading to Panama City.  Or Cancun.  Or South Padre Island.

Truth be told, I’m hoping I don’t even have to leave my yard.

I won’t be getting a sunburn.  A tattoo.  Or arrested (this one’s 50/50).

I’ve decided not to get any of my body parts pierced (I went with “body parts”… didn’t want to work blue in a family blog).

My version of Spring Break may sound boring to some.

But not to me.

I will be mowing the yard.  Napping.  Wondering how Buddy the Dog can sleep so much (does he do this EVERY day when I’m at work?).

I will watch bad television shows that are a complete waste of my time and serve no purpose other than to make all of mankind dumber.

Other than these few items on my to-do list, I’m not completely sure what I will be doing.

But I know what I won’t be doing.

And that’s what makes Spring Break so special.

For the record, if I did get a tattoo it would be a giant eagle with barbed wire in his mouth.  It would be on my back and would look like it was flying when I raised my arms up and down.  Or a small fairy on my ankle.  I can’t decide.

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The Problem With Education Reform. And Disco.

I am a big fan of change.

As long as it doesn’t effect me.Everyone Loves a Test.  And by Everyone, I Mean the Government.

I’m guessing most people have a similar feeling.

Unfortunately for us, we seem to be in a period of history where any change is considered good change.

I am starting to think we are changing just for the sake of change.

Except for Wall Street.  We seem content with them continuing to rip us off.

This time in our lives may be the most painful we’ve ever experienced.  Unless you lived through the disco era (consider me forever scared by bell bottoms, white suits, platform shoes, and the Bee Gees).

I get nauseous when I think about Rick Dees having a Top 20 Hit with Disco Duck (if you are under the age of 40 this reference will be lost on you… so Listen!).

I think educators are overwhelmed by this same kind of feeling.

Administrators and teachers are getting attacked from every possible direction.

Their crime?  Educating children.

How dare they!

Who do they think they are!

I have been working in schools for 16 years.  This is long enough to remember when teachers (maybe not administrators) where considered America’s best and brightest.

It was an honorable profession.  Maybe the most honorable.

Now, that’s just not the case.

Education reform (via our friends the politicians) has put teachers and administrators on the wrong side of appreciated.

We’ve become the problem.

We used to be considered part of the solution.

I can only hope this shift in attitude is temporary, but I’m afraid it’s not.

I’m the first to admit teachers don’t like change, but in the case of education reform I’m with them.

Not that I think we don’t need to change, we do.

Our problem is we didn’t know education was broken.  We were under the illusion America had thrived for the last couple of hundred years.

And public education played a big role in our country’s success.

It wasn’t the enemy.

It was the hero.

Now it has to change.  In every way.  And we are hesitate.

Can you blame us?

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How Much College Debt is Too Much?

Student loan debt now outpaces credit card debt.

I must admit that one time in my life, I had plenty of both.

At what point is it not worth it? 

Can an education be to expensive?


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Conference Dinner Parties. Awkward.

I’ve decided when I attend a conference, I need to take some time to contemplate the experience before I blog about it (and on advice of counsel).

Plus, I’m usually jet-lagged and need to catch up on my sleep (advice from Buddy the Dog).

The exception to this plan is when something horrific happens during my travels and I feel the need to immediately post the details of the occurrence (humiliation is best shared with blog readers).dinner party

Sadly, my trip to Phoenix was pretty quiet.

Although two kind strangers went out of their way to make the trip slightly memorable.

First, I got felt up in the airport (thanks TSA guy named Dan… we always have those special 2 minutes together at 5:00 am in the St. Louis Airport).

And secondly there was a nice lady sitting next to me on the return flight who was kind enough to drop her half eaten breakfast burrito in my lap (I still smell like eggs, cheese, and salsa… ah, who am I kidding… I always smell like eggs, cheese, and salsa).

Travel stinks.

I don’t know how people do it as a regular part of their jobs.  But I digress.

The conference was great.

The one thing that sticks out is I felt like an idiot from the very beginning.

I know this is true because I am very familiar with this feeling.

It washes over me about twice a day.  Get up. Feel like an idiot.  Shower.  Shave (if I have to).  Go to work.  Feel like an idiot.

Welcome to my world.

This feeling becomes even more overwhelming when I’m asked to do one certain task.

Speak in public?


Eat a spider? 

No (and this is a whole different blog).

Face almost near certain death?

No.  This will be a nice break in my otherwise hectic existence.

What could possibly be worse than public speaking, eating spiders, and death?

The always awkward and painful pre-conference 5 hour dinner with total strangers.

If you haven’t experienced this odd human event, let me fill you in (and warn you).

They are a national conference staple.  Especially if the parties involved pay for your flight (Warning!  Warning!  Warning!)

Nothing in life is free (but if it is, please feel free to send it my way).


Not even death (Have you priced a funeral lately?).

If someone offers to fly you to a national conference, pay for your hotel suite (it’s a requirement of my contract… along with only certain colors of M & M’s), and feed you like a King (or Queen)… know one thing.

They are going to make you attend 1-3 conference dinners.

And they are long dinners.

And I mean looooooooooooooooooooooooong.

People (and by people, I mean women) give birth in less time (except my wife and she will be more than happy to tell you all about how long it was… and it seems to get longer each year)

Now my theory: If God wanted us to spend half a day eating dinner, he wouldn’t have invented fast food.

But that’s just me.

I don’t need 4 courses of food I can’t pronounce spread over 300 minutes with total strangers (which by the way aren’t strangers by the time you’re done eating).

You might be thinking I’m implying my dinner companions were boring, and it was painful for me to sit with them for this lengthy amount of time.

I am not.

I’m implying I’m so boring it’s painful for me to sit with me for this length of time.

This is especially true when I’m not sure if I should order the wild boar, seal, or the baby kitten (I’m telling you I had no idea what was on that menu).

The other challenge of spending this much time with strangers is you have to be interesting which is something I’m not willing to do.

This takes effort.

And I’m not that ambitious.

I would much rather listen than talk because quite frankly after 496 blogs, I need some new material.

Plus, probably the only thing that is remotely interesting about me is that I’m a superintendent who blogs.

This little fun-fact would make wonderful dinner conversation, but then I would have to explain what a blog is, why I do it, how many people read it, and how I’ve managed not to be fired from my day job.


Plus, if I mention this to the nice people at the dinner party they might be hesitant to talk about their lives because it could end up on this blog.

And they would be correct.

So if you invite me to a long-drawn out dinner party know 3 things.

One, I’m a busy man who likes to eat quickly.

Two, if you say it, I will use it against you (future blogs…  be afraid, very afraid).

And three, anything deep fried is tasty.  Including wild boar.

At least I think it was wild boar.

How many forks does one man need to eat dinner?  Correct answer:  One.

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Superintendents Talk A Lot.

Why didn’t somebody tell me?Blah.  And Then Some More Blah.

I really had no idea.

Then I went to a conference full of superintendents.  

And listened.

To them talk.

To each other.

On the phone.

To people they know.

To strangers.

To themselves.

Talk.  Talk.  Talk.

Then they would take a break (actually, I made this part up… no breaks… ever).

Don’t get me wrong.  It was a good experience.

I enjoyed listening to what they had to say.

When I wasn’t talking.

If I was a plant, I would be 10 foot tall.

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Outdated World.

Technology does change fast.  Really fast.

I mean really really really fast.

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School Administrators Need to Limit Access. Huh?

Embrace Technology or Get Left Behind.

At the District Administration Magazine conference this week in Phoenix (yes, I said Phoenix), there was a discussion on social media and its use in schools.

I’m never shocked when school administrators talk about limiting access for students (I’m not happy, but not shocked).

I was surprised when several superintendents talked about why they don’t personally use it.

Their reason?  They don’t want to give parents and community members any more access to school business than they already have.


Color me dumbfounded.  And tan (yes, I said Phoenix).

I assumed everyone knew it was 2011 (although I know what happens when I assume).

Everything is accessible.

The world’s a big place and it’s getting smaller.

Parents are demanding schools be more open.  They want to know and see what their children (and teachers) are doing.  They want information, and they want it immediately.

If you don’t believe me, Google it.

Our lives are no longer just our lives.

People have access to us whether we like it or not.

I think we have two choices:  use and understand social media or stick our head in the sand and hope it goes away.

And I’m pretty sure it’s not going away.

If you don’t believe me, Google it.

Just so you know, I’m typing this on my resort balcony.  Sure it sounds fun, but there is a slight glare on my computer screen as I enjoy the 94 degree sunshine.  And if that wasn’t enough, the ice cubes in my drink are melting ever so slightly.

It’s not easy being me.

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While this site operates with the knowledge and awareness of the Tuscola CUSD #301 School Board, Tuscola, Illinois, the content and opinions posted here may or may not represent their views personally or collectively, nor does it attempt to represent the official viewpoint of Tuscola CUSD #301 administrators or employees.