Dear DPS Community,
A short time ago, you received an email from school board President Happy Haynes and Vice President Anne Rowe about my plan to take unpaid family leave for the first half of 2016. I am excited for this opportunity to be with my family, grateful to the board for the opportunity to do so, fully confident in the DPS team's ability to move full speed ahead in my absence and looking forward to coming back to serve as superintendent this summer.
We have an extraordinary group of dedicated educators in DPS and the privilege of serving amazing kids. I have been very grateful for the opportunity to work with our educators and serve our kids as superintendent these last seven years, and I am eager to continue to lead and to serve.
At the same time, my wife Carin and I have made a commitment to each other and to our family to spend this time together. When Carin and I met over two decades ago, we were both studying Chinese in Taiwan and we knew then that we wanted our kids to have the experience of living overseas.
When our oldest daughter Nola was born and we came back to the U.S. after several years working in Hong Kong, we promised each other that at some point we would return with our kids to live overseas. And, when I started in DPS nine years ago and Nola was six, Ella was four and Calvin was two, we again promised each other that we would find a way to make this happen.
|Tom and Carin, with Nola, Calvin and Ella.
Nine years later, our children are 15, 13 and 11, and soon will be off to college and (at least they hope!) out of the house. In the DPS logo, the words that surround the iconic DPS lamp of knowledge read "Discover a World of Opportunity." That is what we hope our 90,000 kids in all our DPS schools will discover. And, to discover a world of learning is what we hope for our three kids: to live and travel in Latin America for six months, to learn to speak Spanish well, to learn about different cultures and to spend a lot more time together as a family than I have been able to spend over these years as superintendent.
I am fully confident during these six months we will move forward full steam ahead in DPS with our teachers and school leaders, our DPS leadership team and our board. I am proud of the progress we have made together. And, while our progress has become a model for many other school districts nationally, we all know we have much further to go to achieve our goals of closing our opportunity gaps and ensuring Every Child Succeeds.
As eager as I am to spend these six months starting in January with my family, I am equally eager to return to the job in July and continue to push our mission forward. There is no work more important than this, the opportunity to improve the lives of more than 90,000 kids. And there is no team more dedicated, more passionate or more capable of making it happen.