A Sunny Winter Break–thanks @LS_Karl

The #sunshineawards were a new concept for me–thanks to @LS_Karl for the honor!  It’s one more way to share the wealth with others.  Karl’s post got me connected to some awesome bloggers and Tweeps… and I’m excited to share some of my inspirations as well!

#sunshineawards Directions:

1. Acknowledge the nominating blogger

Thanks Karl!!!  I enjoy your blog’s candor, sense of humor and positive spirit!

2. Share 11 random facts about myself.

  • Professional (weird) history: student-taught (1 year), taught (14 years) and now principal (3rd year) at the SAME school.  I ❤ Grant School!
  • I’m a total vocabulary nerd.  Discombobulate is one of my current favorites.
  • Recipes are loose guidelines that can lead to an amazing meal.  Improvisation in the kitchen is a must.  My hubby often remarks, “This is really good.  We’ll never have this again, will we?”  Nope.
  • I’ve never broken a bone.  (me, knocking on wood)
  • I could watch Harry Potter, The Lord of the Rings and Pirates of the Caribbean over and over and over again (all of them).
  • My go-to tech: iPhone 5, Chromebook and Nexus 7 tablet
  • I took ice skating lessons at Hilltop Mall (Richmond, CA) for 3 years in elementary school.  Falling on ice is a sensation you don’t easily forget–my most vivid memories are of those falls (and the cute outfits).
  • A distant relative of mine is a famous accordionist–Pietro Deiro (1888-1954).  Do I play?  No.
  • I’m currently reading Emperor of All Maladies by Siddhartha Mukherjee
  • I drive a bright yellow Jeep Cherokee that many people bother me about.  You need a new car!  But I just can’t do it–it’s broken in the way I like it.  No worries about a spill or sports equipment everywhere…. she’s a good ‘ole girl.  2000 with 145,000 miles.  Perfect.
  • There are very few foods I won’t eat–uni is the only 1 I can think of at the moment.  Sea urchin for those scratching their heads.  I was raised in the Bay Area where EVERY cuisine is at your fingertips.  So thankful for a broad palate.

3. Answer the 11 questions the nominating blogger has created for me.

– What is your go to beverage on Friday evening? Why?

Glass of red wine.  Why not?

– If you could make one change to the educational system in the US – or Canada, Victoria and Carolyn – what would it be?

Tricky because I have to chose a group that might seem to leave out others groups… but first and foremost, I’d make teachers’ salaries on par with the vital work they do everyday for our students.  I want the highest quality folks to enter the teaching profession and not have to work over summers to make ends meet.

– Describe your perfect day.

On the river in my kayak, lunch out on a patio somewhere, then watching my kids play in the front yard as the sun sets behind the trees, and reading through the evening until I fall asleep on the couch.

– What is the most important characteristic you look for in your friends?

Understanding that life is complicated.  I can’t have uber needy friends.  I’m available, supportive, kind… all that jazz, but if you don’t understand that my family comes first, that my work is (at times) stressful…. it will be difficult for us to maintain a friendship.

– What is your proudest moment as an educator?

Every time a student comes back to visit.  I love to hear their stories, get an update on their life and share a memory from elementary school.  Then I whip out my class photos from years gone by and we giggle at how we both looked back in the day.

– Who is your hero? Why?

My mom.  She’s a tough lady.  I have high regard for the folks who weather the bumps with grace and love, the folks who know how to forgive and look forward.

– What teacher had the biggest impact on your life? How did they impact you? Does this teacher know the impact they had on you?

Mrs. Fitzgerald was my 3rd grade teacher.  I was totally annoying in class as a kid–reading my book on my lap, talking to any neighbor you sat me near, creating ‘science experiments’ out of my pencil cup, always knowing what you just said when you called me out.  Mrs. Fitzgerald made learning dynamic.  She inspired me to become a teacher.  No, I don’t think she knows… I’ll work on that.

– What needs to happen in 2014 for you to be reflecting on a successful year 52 weeks from now?

I need to stay in the groove I’m in…. I’m managing my stress better than ever and so my family, friends and staff benefit from a calmer me.  I’m enjoying the learning I experience everyday–blogs, books, Twitter, conferences, school.  Life is never dull.

– Who is one must-follow educator on Twitter? Why are they so great? Tell me someone I haven’t heard of!

@drjoeclark is an amazing superintendent in Ohio.  I appreciate his positive contributions, uplifting remarks and work ethic (definitely the vibe is 110% for kids).  Check him out!  I have many a Joe Clark quote on my office wall.  I can’t wait to meet him one day.

– What is the biggest risk you’ve ever taken in your life? How did it work out?

19 years old, I decided to study in Florence, Italy.  I didn’t know a soul there nor anyone who was attending with me.  I’d been living on my own since 17 so (typical) thought I could do anything.  It was a pretty scary situation, sitting in the airport alone, holding my brand new passport, not really sure when I’d fly home again, who I’d meet along the way… It was the most amazing two years of my life!  I’m a better person for the risk and experience.

– I’ll let you off the hook with an easy one: when are you coming to the Bay Area next so we can hang out and I can steal all your best ideas? (With attribution of course!)

You, Karl, should have been at our @nbcue Twitter event (tsk tsk)…. see you at #svcue? #ebcue Cool Tools or Lead 3.0–you’re pick!

Sheesh… those were tough Karl.

4. List 11 bloggers that I believe deserve some recognition and a little blogging love! (These people can’t include the blogger who nominated me.)

I’m not expanding my blog reading a lot right now so my list is the tried and true.  Aka, if I read them, you’ve probably had them to dinner.  ha ha  But truly eleven would be a stretch for me… so here goes albeit abbreviated but heartfelt.

1) Rafranz Davis at rafranzdavis.com. I love the balance she brings to her work.  It always speaks to my heart both as a mom and as an educator.  Balance is so elusive.  Thanks Rafranz!

2) Jose Vilson at thejosevilson.com  I had the pleasure of meeting Jose at #edcampSFBay this year.  What an honor and I’d only just starting following him and reading his blog.  I still shake my head at that missed opportunity for connection and conversation.   Talk about not breathing your own air!  Jose challenges my status quo regularly.  And I am SO thankful.

3) Molehills out of Mountains by Jeff Delp at jeffdelp.com.  I aspire to be a leader who inspires and encourages others.  Jeff really does this for me with candid reflection and high expectations.

4) Krissy Venosdale at venspired.com is awesome.  I love how regularly she blogs and I wish I could do that.  It’s what’s on her mind and heart, super authentic and always thought provoking.

5) Educational Leadership in the 21st Century by Greg Miller at gregmillerprincipal.com is right in line with what I do every day.  Again, an inspiring leader who pushes me to a higher standard.

6) Daisy Dyer Duerr at daisydyerduerr.com is always at the top of my to-read list.  She’s already in on this chain of blogs so no need to repeat the process Daisy, just know that you’re recognized and appreciated.

7) Austin Kleon at austinkleon.com because I gifted his book, Steal like an Artist, to our teachers this Christmas and I’m trying to find parallel folks who are technically not educators but have a lot to say that fits the complicated job of educating small children.  Austin gets it.

8) Not really a blog, but a series of videos that I absolutely LOVE by Vi Hart.  Her sharp wit and snarky take on mathematics and school just make me smile.  If you haven’t had a Vi Hart in your class, then you’ve missed out on some real learning.

I’m stopping at 8… hope that won’t be frowned upon.

5. Post 11 questions for the bloggers I nominate.

  • Top of your wish list for places to visit?
  • Channel your inner superhero–who would you be and why?
  • Recent book you’ve read to recommend?
  • Your favorite TED Talk?  Why?
  • Travel choice–depths of the ocean or darkness of outer space?  Why?
  • Because I’m a vocabulary nerd–your favorite word please.
  • I don’t do professional sports, but folks seem super invested in local teams and their favs… give your team(s) a shout out!
  • Go ahead and take a breather for this one… eleven questions is a lot.
  • Legos–weigh in: greatest toy ever invented or what??!?!  If you disagree, name a toy that tops Legos.
  • If you had the time (assuming you don’t) to cultivate a skill or hobby, what would you chose?
  • Where do you see yourself in five years? Job, family, location?

Thanks again Karl for the recognition and holiday homework.  I know, you don’t believe in homework, but sometimes the #edunudge is all it takes to get folks writing and sharing.

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