Tuesday, November 24, 2015


I hope you and your loved ones have a wonderful Thanksgiving this week. I am looking to some time away from the office. I'm excited to turn my phone off and to enjoy my family. Below are some random things I am thankful for this year.

* The fantastic students we have here in York...they work hard to represent themselves, their families, our school system, and community in a positive fashion.

* The dedicated staff we have at YPS. Our teachers and non-teachers work hard and take a lot of pride in what they do. We have some phenomenal people on the York Duke Team.

* The tremendous parental and community support we enjoy in York. Our parents and patrons truly care about our kids and all of their endeavors.

* Our supportive board of education is another important part of the YPS team. They are student-centered and work tirelessly to ensure our district is heading in the right way.

* My four children that are my best friends. I'm hard on them from time to time but always proud of them. There is never a day that goes by that they don't provide me with strength and purpose.

* My wife is a very important part of my life. Her support and friendship is something I can count on when the rest of my world is turned upside down. I'm lucky to have her as my co-pilot in this crazy thing we call "life."

* My parents and family who I love so much and wish I got to spend more time with. It is still hard not to be with them during the holidays but I know we're always just a phone call away.

* The opportunities we enjoy in the greatest country in the world.


Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Appreciation for School Board Members

I'm excited to spend a few days this week in LaVista, Nebraska at the Annual Nebraska Association of School Boards Conference. I have a TON of respect for all school board members. They serve very thankless positions with no pay and most often no appreciation.

Here in York, we are blessed with a tremendous 6-person governing board that is very dedicated. Aside from meeting twice a month in open, formal meetings; they serve on committees, study up on school issues, and often serve other roles within the community as well. All six of our York Duke board members will be in attendance gaining professional development yet again at this week's NASB Conference. They work tirelessly to better themselves, which betters our school system.

The YPS Board of Education is action-oriented and absolutely student-centered. I am very proud of the professionalism they show and the efforts they go to as they ensure our school system runs efficiently and does what it best for students.

Make it a point to thank a school board member this week in your community. They work hard behind the scenes to help school districts do great things for students, staff, and their community.


Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Nothing but Random Thoughts.....

It was difficult to come up with a "topic" for my blog this week, so I'm just going to settle on some random thoughts....

* I think a huge part of "leadership" is having a "servant mentality" where you're committed to doing whatever needs to be done. The best leaders I've been around don't get hung up on titles and job descriptions; they get hung up on results. They get hung up on making their team better. You see, leadership isn't about having people work "for" you...leadership is about "working with" others. Nobody works "for" me. We all work together. We all have different duties but we're all on the same team.

* One of the things I feel we as a human race are lacking is the ability to genuinely be happy for others when they have success. My admin team and I discussed this on Monday and I threw out a number that I think only 20% of humans are truly happy for others when something positive happens. That might have been optimistic. I'm making it a personal mission to make sure I do my part to step away from jealousy the best as I can to simply applaud and be happy for others that are doing well. Not everything has to be a competition....we don't have to tear others down to try and build ourselves up. It just doesn't work that way.

* Last week on November 5th, I spent a lot of time reflecting on the importance of grandparents again. November 5, 1995 is the date that my Mammer (paternal grandmother) died. She is the first grandparent or loved one that died during my lifetime. I was devastated. She and I were very close. She taught me many things and I still think about her all of the time. All four grandparents played a huge role in my upbringing, especially since my parents were divorced. Pappy passed away in February 2004 and Pop died in September 2009. I'm lucky to still have my 95-year old Mammy alive. She actually visited us in York back in September and it was wonderful to spend some quality time with her. Grandparents are special....if you still have them around, cherish them. If you are one, know what an impact you can have on your grandchildren.

* I have so much admiration and respect for retired and active military. Their bravery, commitment above self, and sacrifice truly amaze me. I cry like a baby every time I watch one of those videos that shows soldiers coming home and surprising their families. The term "hero" gets thrown around way too much when we talk about athletes. Athletes aren't heroes. Soldiers are heroes.

* As we enter the holiday season with Thanksgiving just around the corner, I hope you and your loved ones have a wonderful time together. I truly mean that...you see, I'm capable of being genuinely happy for others!

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

I Love Being a York Duke

Well, it's 4:35 AM and I can't sleep. That happens sometimes when you're a stupid-intendent. Lots of things on my mind like early childhood expansion, course offerings, school improvement, our transportation fleet, electric pencil sharpeners (I know I'm weird),the Affordable Care Act, and more.

Even when sleepless nights like this occur, I love my job. I love being a York Duke. I'm committed to the York Dukes. I don't want to be anywhere else. I am proud and thankful to be a York Duke. This place feels like home. It just does.

There are tons of superintendents out there that are much smarter than me, that are much better instructional leaders, that are better with school finance, that are better with public relations, and that are just plain better. However, it is impossible for another superintendent out there to love their school district more than I love mine. It's just physically impossible. The York Dukes are in my heart. Even if I wanted to, I couldn't get them out. I'm committed to York, re-committed to York, and love being here.

This is my 7th year in York. My daughters have graduated as Dukes and God willing, my 9th and 7th grade sons will as well. York is special. I'm committed and re-committed to working harder than ever to help make it even more special. We have tremendous students and a talented and dedicated staff. Our parental and community support is top-notch. There is no reason why we can't continue our ascension into the upper echelon of districts in Nebraska.

I am so proud of our decorated history and traditions but make no mistake...our best is yet to come....we should be even more excited about our future.

There is no better place to be than York, Nebraska! There is no better time to be a York Duke.

Let's ride!