If you are feeling like time has been hard to track this past year (and the year before), you’re not alone. We’ve all juggled an enormous amount of emotion, stress, and uncertainty this year—on personal and professional fronts. Pressing on in slow motion and somehow sprinting in fast forward at the same time. A “blur,” a “time warp,” “pandemic perplexity.” Whatever you want to call it, this year–and everything that came with it­–has most certainly affected us, our sense of time, and maybe even our sense of progress.

If you’re reading this message, you’ve felt it too. You’ve been right there in the thick of it. Logging extra hours, walking the halls, making tough decisions, serving up support, encouragement, school lunch, and those weird elbow bumps.

You showed up. Every. Single. Day.

As 2021 draws to a close, I encourage each of you to take stock of the many challenges you’ve helped our schools, communities, and most importantly, our students meet. We’re not done. We won’t quit. Not until every school and every student is safe and sound.

Thank you for sharing in our mission. Thank you for staying the course.

All the best in 2022,

Michele Gay