Saturday, July 25, 2015

Whine, Wine and Unwind

After doing my 43 years and 43 days posts on Facebook, I received this post from Debra Garza, the amazing art teacher at Gilbert El for many years:

Hi Sheila,
Ive so enjoyed following the journey of your career, especially the time spent at Gilbert El. I realized, reading the stories and everyones responses, that our community family was more than the children that attend the school, but also all the teachers and staff there too. So I went to Justin and asked if I could add a row of portrait tiles to the wall of you and all the staff that were there during your leadership. With your help, and encouragement, I'd like to get as many people as possible to paint a tile, and install them this year. Whacha think?

I responded immediately and we decided to have as many of the faculty and staff who worked with me through the  years do a special tile for Gilbert El.  I was so touched by the positive responses to this.

Last Thursday, I held the first installment of this tile project at my house.  I will host a few more so that we can get as many people together as possible.  It was such a good time and there were about 15 people there.  Several of those who came, want to come to the next one even if they have already made a tile.  I think everyone enjoyed seeing each other.  I had Teresa come and be a part of it as she really enjoys things like this.

Here are pictures of some of the tiles that were done that night!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Thank you, Mrs. Rogers

From the DUSD website:

Thank you, Mrs. Rogers

We would like to thank Superintendent Sheila Rogers for her work and dedication for the last 5 years.  She has left us with some great programs such as Diamond Scholar, Parent, Classified Staff, and  Certified Staff Councils, and Family Leadership Institute. We wish her the best of luck and only hope that what she started at DUSD only gets stronger.   Thanks for making a difference in so many people at Douglas Unified.

This means a lot to me! 

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Parking Ticket

A few months ago, Teresa gave her 1998 Oldsmobile to Cameron since he is now 16.   When she stopped driving, it was just sitting in the garage in Douglas.  The car is mechanically in good shape and only has a little over 50,000 miles on it.  However, it has been "hit" a few times.  As Teresa told me, "she doesn't understand why people keep hitting her car!"  (That was when we knew it was time to have her stop driving.  I think that losing the independence of being able to drive is probably one of the hardest decisions that has to be made as people age.

Although Cam is 16, he still doesn't have his license and he isn't really anxious to get it.  I don't understand that, but it is what it is.   He still rides his bike to work.  However, I know that he will need transportation down the road and this will be a good and reliable car for him.

It has been parked in front of the Gilbert house for the last few months.  Kerri and Cam drive it every now and then.   About a month ago when I was still in Douglas, "I" got a parking ticket for parking too close to the stop sign.   Now we have lived in this house and parked in the same spot for the past 25 1/2 years.   Obviously, the police officer was bored that Sunday afternoon.

Yesterday we went to court and spent almost two hours there.  Most of the people there were for speeding, etc.  But there were three or four parking tickets similar to mine.  One little old lady in a wheelchair had gotten one the same day.  Her daughter had taken her to Urgent Care and didn't put her handicapped parking sticker in the window because they were in a hurry.  So she was there along with all of the rest of us!  I also had Kerri come with me as I told her "I might throw her under the bus with the judge since I wasn't even here when it happened!"

I decided to ask for a hearing on this as I feel it was a ridiculous ticket.  Believe it or not, I have never had a speeding ticket of any kind and didn't want to pay the reduced fee of $75 (from $145).  So I go back to court in August.   I am hoping the officer doesn't show up for the hearing.  The judge actually kind of shook his head when I went up there.   Almost all of the other cases were ones that people can go to traffic school for, but this isn't one of them.

Fortunately I have the time right now to go to court and fight this!   Looking around our 
neighborhood, there are many cars parked in front of houses or next to houses by stop signs.   Not quite sure what the problem was, but I don't think we were blocking anyone's view of the stop sign!

Saturday, July 18, 2015

A Meaningful Gift and the Gift of Words

Every year in May I receive several invitations to high school graduations from former students that I had at Gilbert El.   Over the past few years, I have also been invited to several graduation parties of students graduating from Douglas High School.   Getting those invitations means the world to me for many reasons and I consider it an honor.   I always get such sweet thank you notes from the students.   

Recently I found an invitation here at my house that somehow got put in a pile of things and it took me getting organized to find it.  I sent this young man a check and received a thank you note in the mail on Friday.   I am always touched by what the kids write to me and it truly makes me feel as though I have played a small part in their educational journey.  However, this particular note was really one that I will always cherish.  What this young man wrote and then ended with some humor was so incredible.   I took a picture of it to post on my blog.  Here it is:

I also sent a text to his dad about how much it meant to me.  He told me that he knew he had written it but didn't know what he wrote so I sent a picture of the note to him.     I asked him to let his son know how much it meant to me!!  

As I continue to unpack boxes and put things away, I came across a beautiful cup that was given to me by one of the DUSD district office classified staff the day that I met with her.  She is truly one of the nicest human beings that I have ever known.   As I have written before, being able to bring closure with each DO employee before I left was so incredible.  So today when I had my coffee, I used this beautiful cup and thought of her and the other wonderful people that I had the privilege of working with and getting to know over the past five years.   I intend to use this cup every day!  It is beautiful and means so much to me!

It is so nice to be able to write freely on my blog again and express my thoughts and feelings!

Friday, July 17, 2015

McDonald's Memories (44 years in 44 days)!

Somehow in the wind down of my last days as a public school educator and retirement, I lost a year.   I had done 43 years in 43 days in I was actually an educator for 44 years!   So here is my 44th post that should have done a few months ago.

In the midst of all of the organizing I have been doing since I moved back to Gilbert, I found a photo album with pictures from the first time I worked at McDonald's in 1997.     It brought back such great memories of the many times that we held fundraisers there for Gilbert El.   And it should have been one of my 43 day posts if I had remembered it.    Since the 43 days are up, I will continue to write as I remember different events over my incredible career!

When we held a fundraiser at McDonald's, they would give us a percentage of how much we made.  I worked behind the counter along with other faculty and staff members.  It seemed like all of the kids would get in my line--sometimes it was really backed up!  Talk about pressure!!  Trying to take the orders and then trying to get the straight when they didn't want onions or something.  It gave me a new respect for the fast food workers!!   

I did this several times over the years and it was always a great fundraiser.  I had a "tip" jar for the kids to give me tips which went to the school.  I also had a bell that I rang every time that someone put money in and we would all cheer.  What fun those days were!!!   I have said more than one time that being an elementary school principal is the best job in the world and I will always cherish the 21 years of wonderful memories that I have of my days at Gilbert Elementary.  It was more than just a school. It was (and I think still is) an incredible community of parents, faculty, staff and students.  Those were the best of times!!!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Weekend in Sedona

This past weekend, I spent catching up with my old friend, Emilie, at her house in Oak Creek Village.   I drove up Friday afternoon and came back on Sunday afternoon.  Emilie was a teacher at Gilbert El when I was the principal and then moved to northern Arizona to teach at NAU.   She was also my neighbor here in Gilbert for a few years.

Emilie is truly one of the good people on this earth.   She would give you the proverbial "shirt off her back" if that you needed it.  In addition, she is fun to be around!!!  

We were able to catch up on the many years that we haven't seen each other and it was so good.   Her two sons are doing great.  John is married to Maya and Joe will be getting married in September.  I got to see John and Maya, but not Joe--hopefully next time!  They are both great young men.

Emilie's family is much like ours.  Her roots go back to Spain and I have attended several of her family functions.  I was fortunate to be able to get to know her parents and her aunts and uncles through the years!   Her family reunions and parties are very similar to ours.   She has a big, extended family like the Scott Family!

Since I exercise and walk every day and have to get my steps in, I brought my music and iPod and we danced the weekend away!!  It was fun and I got all of my steps in!   As we said, we had a 4D weekend!!!

Sunday morning we went to breakfast with my former principal and assistant superintendent in Gilbert, Sherryl Valentine and her husband, Tom.  It was so nice to visit with Sherryl and meet Tom.  I have met Sherryl a couple of times in Tucson while I was in Douglas  and it is always fun to talk to her.

Both Sherryl and Emilie have similar political views as I do.   And so it was great to talk politics with them!

One of the things that Emilie and I talked about was my thoughts on a new job.   Prior to July 2nd (not sure why that is the day that I had an epiphany), I thought I wanted to work full time because I felt that I still have a lot to offer.   I had a scheduled job interview on Monday in Tucson with a non-profit organization as their chief educational officer.  I love the vision that this organization has in working with troubled young people.   However, I do not want to put in the long hours that are required for any of these jobs.  I have done the long hours for 26 years now as this is how long I have held an administrative position.  I don't want that again now that I realize how wonderful not having such responsibility is.  So I decided to cancel the interview and I feel very good about it.

I am loving being able to reconnect with old friends and I absolutely am going to continue.  I don't have to worry about being at work the next day or on Monday anymore....

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

The Last Meeting

Today I attended my last meeting of the Professional Practices Advisory Committee (PPAC) after serving on this committee since 2000--15 1/2 years!   I was appointed to this committee in 2000 by the Arizona State Board of Education to serve as the principal member.   I served until 2011 and then there was an opening on it for a superintendent so I was named the superintendent representative.   For the past five or so years, I have served as the chair.    

My term was up July 1, but I attended this meeting.   It has been an incredible experience and I have learned so much.   However, it has been a very difficult committee to serve on as we do all of the hearings for any certificated person who may have done something immoral or unprofessional.  After we hear the case, we then make a recommendation to the State Board as to whether or not that person can keep a certificate, etc.   

Over the course of the years I have been on the PPAC, I have seen many sad cases.  It seems that a lot of the cases have to do with substance abuse.    I have seen many people who have made mistakes and are trying to get on with their lives and I truly get that.   However, there have been difficult decisions to make.

It has been an honor for me to serve the children of the State of Arizona in this capacity over the years!  However, I am glad that I am finished with it.  As I said, it is difficult and sad and I want to be able to focus on other projects at this point.    I have seen all that is good and bad in our educational society and I know that I have done the very best that I could in making decisions and recommendations through the  years.   

So today was another ending of my wonderful career.  And the positive things that were said by the chief investigator from the State Board were wonderful!  I have met some amazing people through the years and I am very proud that I was able to be on this committee and to be the chair.   But I am also happy that today was my last meeting!!!

Monday, July 13, 2015


Last Monday morning, I went to the local Coffee Rush to meet with Debra Garza, former Gilbert El art teacher, to plan the tile project that she is going to do at Gilbert El.  I will write more about that later as it is awesome!!

Anyway, we were sitting at one of the larger tables chatting when a lady bustled over to us.  I thought she was going to ask us to move to a smaller table because it appeared she had a group with her.  Turned out I was wrong!   She is a minister and was there to perform a wedding and needed two witnesses so she asked Debra and I if we would be willing to witness the wedding.   Of course we said yes!!!  

The young couple were there by themselves so the minister invited all of the people at Coffee Rush to go out on the patio for the ceremony.  I think there were probably between 10 and 15 people who did not know the bride and the groom.

Debra was the official photographer and how lucky there were to have someone with an artistic eye to be able to take the pictures.  It was a very nice ceremony and it was fun to be a part of it.   It is certainly not something that has ever happened to me before!!!  Who would have thought having coffee at 9:00 a.m. would also include witnessing a wedding??????

They asked for our contact information as they intend to have a reception later on and would like to invite us!!  I hope that they do!!!

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Could Retirement Get Any Better?

I have been trying to get organized and get things put away here at the house since I moved back to Gilbert.  I do a little bit every day and have accomplished quite a lot.   In addition, I have been able to reconnect with old friends and this has meant so much to me.   I am very fortunate to have so many great friends and love being able to visit with them.

I have been going swimming every evening.  I absolutely love to get in the pool and relax before going to bed.   Last night, Cameron decided to get in the pool with me.   He is a wealth of information about so many things and never stops talking.  It is amazing what he knows about!

I have been counting my steps with my Jawbone and every day I make sure to complete my goal and even exceed it.  After we went swimming, I decided to get a few more steps in. Cameron laughs at me for dancing around the house so I told him that if he was going to laugh, he had to  dance with me--and so he did!!  He actually has rhythm, which I don't and is a good dancer.   We danced to some of my music and then some of his!  It was so fun....  Not many 16 year olds would dance with their grandmother!!   I love this boy!  He is such a fun kid!!

I promised I wouldn't put the picture on Facebook, but I would put it on my blog.  So here are a couple of pictures of my handsome, dancing grandson--Cameron!


Friday, July 3, 2015

Kenny Chesney

I like some country western music and always have.   Over the years, George Strait and Willie Nelson have been some of my absolute favorites.  I have been able to see George Strait once in concert and Willie three times.  And of course, my all time favorite is Jerry Jeff Walker, who I have seen probably three times.

When I started writing my blog, I was able to attach music to it.  I would "google" a song that would go with my post and then put it on.  For whatever reasons, that is not allowed anymore, which makes me sad.   But the good thing is that I found a number of songs by Kenny Chesney as I was writing and I have come to absolutely love him and his music.

He was in Phoenix in April, but it was the night before our Diamond Scholar Night so I wasn't able to get up to it.  My friends, Elise and Jessie, messaged me when we were in Curacao and let me know that he was going to be in Tucson at one of the casinos on July 2 and did I want to go.  I had turned them on to his music when we spent time at the cabin.

So yesterday I went to Tucson and met Elise and Jessie for the concert.  I was so excited to see Kenny!!!  We got to the casino early because we had seats in the grass and so had to find a place because there weren't seats!  What an experience we had!!  I am so glad that I got to hear Kenny.   However, I think Jessie, Elise, and I were the OLDEST people at the concert!!!   It was good, but not having assigned seats and sitting in the grass was a bit much for us "elderly" people!  The good thing was that I got a bunch of my steps in!!! And we say Jason and Patty (from Douglas).  And no matter what, it has been added to my good memories!!  However, I know in the future when I go to a concert, it will be with an assigned seat and probably indoors.   But it was still a bunch of fun.  

Elise and Jessie have been such incredible friends these past few years.  Elise and I have been friends for years as she lived across the street before we were even in school,but it has been so great to get to know Jessie and spend time with them.  I will forever be grateful for their friendship!!!!!

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Day 1 of the Retirement Journey

It seemed so weird today to not get up and copy my blog post to Facebook.    For the 43 days, I have done a post each day talking about my career and how fabulous it was.   Today I didn't have any more to write because today it is official.

We got back from Alabama yesterday evening and today I am going to try to get organized here at my Gilbert house.   I still have things to get in Douglas, but that can wait for awhile.  

I am also very excited today as I get together with my dear friends, Jill, Bev, Susie and Sharon, at lunch.   I have missed the girls so much and I can't thank them enough for the times they came down south and for their friendship these past many years, but especially the past five!

I am going to continue to write on my blog.  My 43 year journey was mostly all positive.  The past two years have not been so positive because of the idiocy of a few people who have no conscience about their actions and no regard for children.   I absolutely believe that "what goes around, comes around" and that these mean-spirited people will someday get something back for  the absolute harm that they do on a daily basis to innocent children.  However, I don't want to waste my valuable time thinking about them and their twisted psyches.   They are the sad ones and I can only feel sorry for the choices that they have made to be hurtful and do damage.  My friend, Wally, always says that the media never lets the "truth get in the way of a good story."  That fits this situation perfectly as it is unbelievable how the truth has been twisted to meet the convoluted minds of some people!

My journey is not over and I have been overwhelmed by the positive comments from so many people.   It is evident that my time in Douglas was well spent by the amount of tears, hugs, cards, and sincere comments that I have received from parents, teachers, classified staff and community members.   They all say to ignore the idiots because that is exactly what they are!   So I am happy to be done with that part of the job.  It was the only part of being in Douglas that was difficult.  Everything else was absolutely great and as I have said before, I will cherish those days and always hold a special place in my heart for these wonderful people.   I know that the District is is a far better place than when I got there five years ago!

And as I wrote before, the mere fact that I stayed through my entire contract despite the ugliness of a few, has actually served me well.  I have had so many phone calls asking about possible jobs because of what I have done and how I have held my head high.  It has been unbelievable how many people in the education community have heard about the absolute nonsense of a few and have known that what I have dealt with has been absolutely false at so many levels.    I am not sure what I want to do and I am going to explore options.  But right now, I don't want to do anything for awhile.  I want to relax, see old friends, and just catch my breath!    

So today is the first day of the rest of my life.  We will see what new experiences there will be!