8 years

Eight years ago was my first day at Round Rock ISD. I had always wanted to work in K-12 education and was amazed I finally had a chance. My job? Grant coordinator. I was so excited and yet so scared at the same time. I knew it was my next step in my career but honestly had no clue what was to come… and how the next 8 years would change my life forever.

My career (and life) has never been a straight line. I always say I am afraid of change and have difficulty taking risks, yet if I am honest, my life does not reflect this self talk. I went to Australia for a semester when in college, and moved to NC for grad school without knowing anyone. I don’t know why I don’t admit I lean into change and take risk…

Eight years ago if you had told me my journey would include being the first Director of Behavioral Health and helping to create a new model of school policing including social workers and officers working together, I would have thought you were crazy, yet that is where I find myself today. While I have written of the pain the last few years, there has been so much goodness.

I keep listening to the song by the Indigo Girls, All We Let In:

“Well, I don’t know where it all begins,

And I don’t know where it all will end,

We’re better off for all that we let in.”

And of boy have I have let so much in. January 2019 I presented at the Texas Association of School Administrators Conference on how mental health is part of school safety and that one presentation started me on a path I never could have expected. With a new executive director of safety and security and another presentation on mental health and school safety, my career was launched in a new direction.

By January of 2020 I was hired as Director of Behavioral Health Services. By March 2020 we were in a global pandemic causing everyone to finally realize the impact of mental health on kids. August 2020 brought the beginning of the police department and funding for social workers.

In a blink of an eye it is three years later and we have established a national model of school policing showing that by thinking outside of the box the number of students introduced into the criminal justice system through school policing can be lowered… basically saying lives are saved, hope is given.

Tomorrow I will say goodbye to the district that has changed my career for ever. The district that helped me to see my passion and contribution.

Tomorrow I will say goodbye to a team of the most remarkable people I can imagine. A team of social workers who signed on to create something different, a team that trusted my leadership, a team that leans into love and supporting students. Tomorrow I let them know while this is the end of my role it is not the end of the work.

Tomorrow I say goodbye to officers who each day show up to our campuses willing to risk their lives for students, staff… I work beside them knowing their job requires something mine never does. Tomorrow I say goodbye to the most humbling part of my career, because to work alongside these officers, to have their respect will always hit me deep.

While the last few years have hurt my soul in ways I can’t imagine, it also has shown me such goodness from others… and that is the complexity of life. So tomorrow I leave a district that has changed the trajectory of my career. I leave hoping I have left things better than I have found it…. I leave knowing I will miss working with the most remarkable team, I will leave humbled to work with officers that are willing to risk their life for my son.

The good, the bad, the hard, the easy…. I am better for all I have let in

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