Letter: Chris Williams urges new board to align values, be selfless
Submitted by Chris Williams
–I want to start by saying thank you for the incredible support and willingness in allowing me to be a part of making a difference for our kids. I have loved every minute of my time serving each of you, our students, and our community and have only the fondest memories of my time serving as the Superintendent. The growth, positive changes, and many successes will not be forgotten, and I wish each of you the absolute best with your future endeavors and answering the direction that a majority of the Board will set.
As many of us have experienced, the key in any organization is to live with a passion and purpose, guided by a belief and set of principles that we believe in and that shape and form our culture and direct our actions. Yet we must also honor and balance the past traditions and culture while raising the expectation for excellence.
This can only be done by attaching the right players and people who share a higher purpose, are not afraid to think differently while challenging the norms, can lead with deep conviction, are truth tellers and do not hide, yet have the willingness to work with, work through, and work above the needless noise created by doubters and those who don’t believe, those who are not willing to put the purpose and belief above themselves.
It is the identity of our team that matters – not so much what we do, but who we are, what we stand for, and why we exist. Many of you, my friends, have what it takes, yet there are those who will need to focus on why they are here, what their purpose is, and what they have done to positively impact those around us, who sit in the chairs of our schools, and who depend on us as role models and leaders so they may find greatness within.
You see, for me this is not a job, it is not a profession, it is a calling. My passion and purpose have always driven me. What an amazing opportunity I have had to cultivate the seed of greatness in every child and person. It is who I am and what I will always do. Thank you to everyone who have challenged themselves to be difference makers, who are loyal to the cause and purpose of excellence and have been there with me, for this organization, but most importantly for the youth of this community.
As I recently read and reflected: The emotional glue of any culture – religion, family, nation, or team – is its sense of identity and purpose. What we identify with are the things we recognize as important to ourselves – to our deepest values… this type of meaning has the emotional power to shape behavior and inspire us to be better than we were before while striving to be better than we are today.
When our values and beliefs are aligned with the values and beliefs of the organization, we will work harder and longer toward our success. If not, our individual motivation and purpose will suffer, our enthusiasm and passion will deteriorate, as will the organization.
I want to remind our Board members, you are here to make a difference and to believe and trust that the many you have hired will continue to make a difference for a long time. With the great things that have been done here, there are still people who continue to tear down what has been accomplished, including personal attacks, lies, and inflammatory comments. These jobs are difficult enough without having to chase inaccurate information and false reports. These things, while not difficult to endure, take much necessary time away from the important things going on in our schools. The unfortunate part is that most of these comments are from people who have never actually come in to talk about making things better, or even sat down to have a single conversation with me or any members of my team about the immense programming and positive work being done for our students.
I want to remind journalists to seek the truth from all parties, to have the willingness to work together, asking hard questions, and doing the necessary work to validate the truth and hold people accountable. This accountability is paramount and important in our line of work, but also dangerous and harmful if untrue. I urge you to focus on telling the human story that sits in front of you and not try to prove and create unfounded news that only decreases the chance of our students’ success and tarnishes the work that so many have done to impact the lives of our kids and community. Our community and students deserve more than mediocre, unfounded, unproven myths that continue to be low-level, irresponsible reporting. You, too, have a chance to raise your game and make a difference.
But most of all, I want to remind everyone to be unselfish, be selfless; it is not about your agenda, or what you heard, or the noise you make, it is about pulling together, supporting one another, and building on the foundation of greatness. Do not be shy, do not be afraid, be a truth teller, as education is a mission field and you have a chance to be the difference in a child’s life. Face it and embrace it. Remember, people want to be part of something larger than themselves. They want to be part of something they are proud of, that they’ll fight for, sacrifice for, that they trust.
In closing, I want to express my heartfelt gratitude to every one of you, and I look forward to many more great accomplishments for the Paso Robles Joint Unified School District. Onward and upward, my friends.
With much respect, Chris Williams