An Attitude of Gratitude

An Attitude of Gratitude
Posted on 11/15/2018
Image of David JamesDear APS Friends:

As I wade through my late 50s and think about life, the universe, my place in the world and whether I am doing the best I can every day for my community and our students, I encounter frequent episodes of gratitude. As I get older, I increasingly find gratitude and acceptance to be two pivotal feelings that help me answer those questions about life, work and caring for others.

I am fortunate to work with a gentleman who sets the example for all of us by carrying himself with dignity and by frequently and publicly expressing acceptance and gratitude. The Reverend Dr. Curtis T. Walker, Sr., is not merely a member of the Akron School Board. In his 19 years in this elected office, Reverend Walker has led in so many ways. He has been president of the board, elected by his peers on the board, three separate times.

Being on a school board, any school board, is hard work if one performs the job with dedication and passion for bettering the lives of children. Difficult and challenging matters come before the board, and decisions are made that affect the lives of students today and in the future.

Reverend Walker has been, almost since coming onto the board in 2000, a steadying and calming influence, especially during tumultuous times. Believe me, there are more than one might imagine. But with his calming presence and an always-reassuring hand, our boards have been stronger, more decisive and better because of him.

In case you wonder why I have chosen this time to express thanks for Reverend Walker's ongoing commitment to Akron Public Schools, it's about more than giving thanks and showing gratitude during this season of giving. It's about something that recently occurred.

Some of the APS administration and board spent a couple of days this week in Columbus at something called the Capital Conference. It is an annual convention of Ohio educators sponsored by the Ohio School Boards Association (OSBA). Thousands of teachers and administrators exchange ideas, work on solutions to problems and spend a good deal of time showing what our best practices are for others to see.

During this year's Capital Conference, Reverend Dr. Curtis T. Walker, Sr., was honored -- in a special presentation -- for his being named to the All Ohio School Board.

Image of Rev. Walker at OSBA Conference
Image of Rev. Walker at OSBA Conference Image of Rev. Walker at OSBA Conference
Image of Rev. Walker at OSBA Conference
Image of Rev. Walker at OSBA Conference 

Reverend Walker was among five Ohio board members who took center stage at the conference to receive the association's most prestigious honor, the All-Ohio School Board Award.

Earning the All-Ohio School Board Award is not an easy feat. Competition is heavy and the qualifications are considerable.

To be chosen means you are concerned for the education and welfare of children, make the necessary time commitments, invest in ongoing in-service development, practice good decision-making, work with their fellow board members as a team and follow OSBA's code of ethics.

We are fortunate and grateful to have Reverend Walker as a guiding force on our board and as a caring, respected and thoughtful member of the APS family. Our congratulations to him for receiving such recognition on a statewide level.

Thanksgiving is about a week away, and I want to share with you words of encouragement that might spur you to give. While we certainly appreciate and know quite well the generous nature of our community, we always want to make as many people as possible aware of the myriad opportunities to express your generosity.

Giving Tuesday is coming up November 27, and I would like to personally encourage you to make a contribution -- if you have not already -- to the United Way of Summit County Campaign. Our employees do this through the annual Akron Public Schools campaign for the United Way. So many people are well aware of events such as Black Friday (the day after Thanksgiving) and Cyber Monday (the Monday after Thanksgiving) in the retail world. But, how many were aware of Giving Tuesday? Please mark this day on your calendar -- the Tuesday after Thanksgiving -- as Giving Tuesday to remind yourself that, amidst the rush of holiday spending, we must also remember that in every community there are people in need of our support. Some of them might be your neighbors or co-workers. We never know who needs us. But, by giving to the United Way, we invest in helping those most in need.

Enjoy the upcoming holiday and the break from work it gives us all. While you are doing that, please give consideration to those in our community who may need assistance and do what you can to help.

Best Wishes,

Image of David James signature

David W. James
Superintendent
Akron Public Schools
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