Happy Winter Season NCSLA Members!
It is my sincerest wish that each and every NCSLA member and your families had the opportunity to enjoy the magic of the holiday season. Personally, I am so very fortunate to get to experience the season with a 5-year old (Claire) at home. And like many of my colleagues with children (and maybe grandchildren) can attest, I get to see the richness of the season through the excitement and gratitude in her eyes and emotions. Every day my daughter Claire reminds me that even in the face of the terrible realities that we all face as human beings during the Covid-19 pandemic, we still have so much to be thankful for.
I wanted to open my letter to the membership with a short positive and personal anecdote. At the same time, I would be remiss not to acknowledge and recognize the difficulties many families, friends and STEM education colleagues face today. The coronavirus epidemic has challenged this organization to think differently about how we can successfully serve you, our members. I’m proud of the tireless work your executive leadership team, your regional directors, your committee chairs and members have done to maintain the standards of a professional organization. You are all inspiring to stand beside.
Since our last Fall NCSLA SuperViews newsletter, we’ve accomplished many things as an organization. Employing the guidance of your Executive Director, Christi Whitworth, we held a successful September retreat and November board meeting. Over the Spring and Summer and under the unyielding leadership of past president Beverly Lyons, your leadership team worked together to create, inspire, promote and implement a full complement of four instructional webinars centered around the timely topics of 1) diversity, equity and inclusion and 2) remote learning strategies. I LOVE when a professional development plan comes together successfully! You can anticipate another four instructional webinars in the Spring. With the support of a committed cadre of committee members, Fellows Program chair Alisa Wickliff continues to adapt lessons, modify experiences and provide leadership learning opportunities for our 17 Fellows cohort members. Under president-elect Carla Billups and new nominations committee chair Manley Midgett’s leadership, we’ve recruited, invited and nominated our members to run for open offices. Your treasurer Pat Shane, while always serving the executive leadership team in an institutional capacity, continues to pay the bills and challenges us to think differently about sponsorship in the post Covid-19 environment. Your individual committee chairs continue to meet and adapt to the changing environment in front of them. Lastly, I’d like to recognize the amazing work and offer a heartfelt thank you to webmaster Beth Snoke Harris, committee chair Kerrie Lalli, and the communications committee! They do a fabulous job keeping us informed. Whew. What can I say? YOU ALL are truly amazing!
It’s been a year like no other and I’ve had the pleasure to watch impassioned NCSLA members from across the state of North Carolina rise to overcome challenge after challenge for the benefit of effective leadership in STEM education despite the collection of obstacles in front of you. It hasn’t been easy for any of us, and yet you made it happen. You are all amazing, and I appreciate every one of you!
I say good riddance to 2020. While I want to quickly turn the page and look ahead to better days, I won’t EVER forget the multitude of trials and tribulations experienced over this past year. Claire has taught me to always appreciate the here and the now and to take nothing for granted. So, I choose to remember what we have all been through and learn from those experiences.
And yet, we all look forward to a happy, healthy and prosperous 2021. Folks, I have hope for a better tomorrow.
I’m going to end each of my official communiques with these statements: I am excited to serve our membership as NCSLA president. I have always valued our organization as THE forum for professionals to have engaging conversations about relevant issues in our field, to identify issues where advocacy is needed, and to collaborate across different stakeholders thereby generating statewide solutions. It is my pleasure to serve you, the membership.
Dr. Dennis S. Kubasko, Jr.
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