Our Voice
2020 A Year of Challenges and Changes.
There are many ways to describe the year 2020: difficult, unprecedented, crazy, stressful, sad, unpredictable and emotional.  This has certainly been a year of challenges and changes.  Since last March our lives have been anything but routine.  When schools abruptly closed on March 13, we had no idea that would be the last we saw of our students in the classroom.  From there on its been a very bumpy ride.  

Overnight we had to change the way we taught from in person to online which created many challenges. How do we keep students engaged?  How do we deliver an education to those who don’t have access to technology and the internet?  What to do if we haven’t heard from our students?  Where are my students?

With so much uncertainty, it would be understandable if we decided to just throw up our hands and say, ‘I’m done’, but you didn’t.  You kept with it.  You put in the long hours.  You answered all the texts, emails and phone calls from parents trying to figure out how to help their children learn.  You kept adapting and as soon as you figured it out, something happened to make you change what you were doing yet again. But, you did it because at the end of the day, all that mattered were the students.  

Life changed for me on July 15 as I became your President.  Starting this adventure in the middle of a pandemic has been interesting to say the least. I had to jump in with both feet. Anyone who knows me knows that I like to have a plan.  However, the ever-changing environment of Covid-19 has not always made that possible.  This has challenged me to have to adapt and change with whatever the day brings.  While it isn’t always easy, it has helped me grow personally and professionally. I must give the credit for this personal growth to you, the members of SDEA, who inspire me daily with your true grit and determination to get through this together, and for that I thank you.

Yes, I think we have all grown and learned a lot about ourselves over the last nine months.  Covid-19 has tested our limits, made us lose countless hours of sleep, but at the end of the day, we are educators, and a pandemic isn’t going to stop us from doing what we love – educating the students of South Dakota.

Christmas break is upon us.  I hope you take time to relax and recharge.  Even though the virus may limit our plans, don’t let it take away the opportunity to reflect on all the amazing work you accomplished in a short period of time.  You truly do inspire me.

Finally, thank you – thank you for the opportunity to represent you as your President.  Thank you for challenging me. Thank you for all you do for the students of South Dakota.  Let’s welcome 2021 with open arms…I know better days are ahead.