Association of Washington School Principals
Volume 1 – 2020-21
Silver Linings Playbook
Time to rethink, reimagine, and reinvent
David Morrill
Communications Director, AWSP
For the majority of my 41 years on this planet, I don’t really remember the highlights of most years.
I can remember 1997 because that’s the year I graduated high school. 2001 brought incredible joy to Mariners fans in the summer, and then incredible tragedy to the nation soon after. 2013 stands out because I started at AWSP that December, and 2014 because I bought my first house. I met my wife on a trip to Denver visiting my sister in 2015. She moved to Washington in 2016 when we got engaged. And then in 2017, I married the woman of my dreams. Lots of major milestones in the past decade, but again, most years seem to blend together, one into the next, unless something big happens.
Which brings us to 2020. None of us had the foresight to see this coming. I wonder in hindsight what we’ll learn. In a year dominated by a pandemic, we’ve had sideshows like murder hornets and Tiger King. We’ve also taken some bigger steps in the very slow march towards racial justice. For many Americans, the injustice exposed by the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor let us see the tip of the iceberg. For the first time, many Americans are seeing how inequities and systematic racism affects many facets of the lives of non-white Americans, whether that’s housing, healthcare, policing, or near and dear to all of us, education.
We’ll never forget 2020 for the pandemic and the fight towards racial justice, but what else will you remember it for? My challenge to you is to find the silver linings.”
The pandemic affected almost every aspect of our lives and economy, and education has been no exception. COVID-19 created dark times for many people, while shining a spotlight on all sorts of systemic inequities within our state, our districts, schools, and classrooms. Many of these inequities go beyond what individuals are able to solve themselves, but that doesn’t stop you all from trying. At AWSP, we’ve seen incredible examples of your leadership across the state during these turbulent and trying times. You’re truly an inspiration to us as you lead through and into the unknown.
Despite all 2020 has thrown at school leaders across the state, you’ve worked harder than ever to serve your students, staff, and communities. We’ll never forget 2020 for the pandemic and the fight towards racial justice, but what else will you remember it for? My challenge to you is to find the silver linings. You’re no longer beholden to the status quo. Now is the time to rethink, reimagine, and reinvent education for each and every student.
The year 2020 will stand out to all of us, even if the individual days, weeks, and months just blend into time soup. I know I’ll look back at 2020 and remember missing seeing my amazing co-workers in person, but I’ll appreciate daily walks with my wife. I’ll remember this year for all the turmoil and turbulence, but I’m sure most of that will turn into a footnote when my wife and I welcome our first child (Marleaux, who’s due 10 days from now as I write this).*
My challenge to you is to find a silver lining powerful enough to turn a pandemic into a footnote. Not easy unless like me, you’re welcoming a child or grandchild, but I know you can do it. And why do I know that? Because we’ve been watching you do the impossible for the past six months now. If you’ve got a powerful silver lining story, reach out to us. It might make a great article for the next Washington Principal.
*  Baby Marleaux has since arrived, safe and healthy!
David Morrill is the AWSP Communications Director. He serves as Managing Editor for Washington Principal.
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Association of Washington School Principals
Washington Principal | Volume 1 – 2020-21