I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday filled with cherished memories and laughter. Whether your favorite dish was turkey, mashed potatoes, cranberries, sweet potato, or pumpkin pie, I hope you enjoyed a delicious meal with your loved ones. And, of course, let’s not forget the post-dinner turkey-induced snores — a sure sign of a successful feast!
As we approach the holiday season, it is the perfect time to reflect and appreciate all the good things in our lives. Recently, I shared a story with district leaders that made me think and reflect on the kind of person and leader I am for others. I posed a simple question, “Whose call list are you on when they have a question or need help?”
As a leader, it may seem easy to tell people what they should do and how they should do it. However, being sought out for advice or considered someone’s “go-to” in times of need is a powerful indicator of the level of trust and respect others have for you. This connection is often overlooked, but it is an important aspect of leadership that most fail to reflect on and should never be taken for granted.
At times, the person calling may ask for a simple solution or they are hopeful you can resolve an issue. Nonetheless, you are a trustworthy and reliable individual who is committed to fostering open lines of communication. This is crucial in creating a positive environment and a culture of collective efficacy, which ultimately benefits our students, schools, the district, and the community as a whole.
During my time as your superintendent, I remain awed by the drive and determination our educators and staff have to prepare our students as Life Ready Graduates! We know that the traditional educational system of checking off boxes is no longer acceptable. We need to continue thinking outside of the box for our students and provide them with opportunities to achieve one of the 3E’s — Enrolled, Enlisted, or Employed — as they walk across the stage. If these opportunities are not yet available, we are not afraid to step up and create them ourselves.
It has been a busy three and half months at Lawton Public Schools. We have made a significant amount of progress to our facilities from the turf projects and installation of double secure entrances to additional fencing at several of our sites with more to come. I highly encourage you to drive by our facilities and see the updates to our secondary fields. For those taking to the air in the near future, be sure to check out the aerial view as well. It sure is a sight to see!
Our students have achieved great success both in and out of the classrooms. Many of these can be seen on our online media platforms and in the LPS Review magazine. We celebrate and acknowledge our hardworking staff for their dedication and commitment to serving students. In just a few short weeks on Dec. 15, we will be holding our annual district Celebration! event where we will honor this year’s elementary and secondary Teacher of the Year, First Class Teacher of the Year, and a new award, the Educational Support Person of the Year. For the first time, the event will be held during the day, which will allow more of their peers and colleagues to join in the celebration.
I would like to take a moment to express my sincere gratitude for our Board of Education members and their unwavering support. I cannot emphasize enough how much it means to our staff and educators that they approved the Christmas bonuses for the third year in a row. This is especially meaningful during this time of year. Join me in giving them a huge shout-out and special thanks for their dedication and commitment to our school community.
As we strive to improve the lives and education of our students, we remain vigilant and united in our efforts to come together. It continues to be an exciting time for us at LPS. Remember, take some time to reflect on the positive impacts you have made and the lives you have touched. As I shared with our team, I now leave you with the same question: “How many individuals can you think of right now that you have on your call list?” Similarly, “How many people have you on theirs?”
Kevin Hime is superintendent of Lawton Public Schools.