Today will close one of the most exciting and rewarding chapters in my life.
Five years ago I came to the Foundation bright-eyed and very green.
I didn’t know much about #EdReform but I knew social media. Jaryn saw that as an asset and gave me a chance to make it in the big leagues.
I left my home and all the people I loved in Texas and moved to Tallahassee Florida to take a chance on a social media gig with an education reform organization I didn’t know much about.
The Tallahassee team made me feel welcomed, loved, and appreciated. They didn’t just make sure I knew EdReform, they made sure I had things to do, people to see, and places to visit. Mary Laura took me out one weekend with her daughter to the ‘Tallahassee Zoo’…. Jaryn invited me to watch the World Series (Go Rangers!) with her family, Alexis became my running partner, Erin Price hosted an Oscars party, Clare Crowson helped me find the best diet Dr Pepper close the office. You get the point. The ExcelinEd team invited me into their world.
Cari Miller, Joanna Hassel, and Mary Laura Bragg would sit with me for as long as I needed as I learned the intricacies of our ExcelinEd policies.
2012 was quite the year. First with the RNC and all the crazy that came along with that (oh the stories to be told), the new additions to our team (We gained a DC office that year with John B, Adam P, Dave M, Josh V!), Neil Ruddock, my girl ALLISON, and then….
The summit. That first morning. Summit was about to begin and I received the 5am phone call letting me know my apartment was in flames.
The way they rallied around me in that season will never be forgotten. Whenever I tell the story of the fire, their names will always come up. Joanna breaking the news to me that in fact my apartment WAS considered a total loss, Dave Myslinski feeling uncomfortable with my tears and doing the only thing he knew to do: get the girl a diet dr pepper!, Sarah Powell holding me as I sobbed (and subsequently pressing the button on the walkie talkie I was wearing so that EVERYONE could hear my sobs…cool), Joanna coming back later with a photo showing me that all my journals had been saved from the fire, and how the entire team helped me pull it together so we could pull off the biggest event of the year. (I think there were a lot of drinks to be had that night as well. Erin Price and Nadia kept my glass full.)
The team even pulled together gift cards for me upon my return home so I could get some of the necessities taken care of while I figured out what I’d be doing.
2013 marked the year of DC. After the fire, I opted NOT to sign a lease in the same apartment complex and moved about 14 hours north to the DC office where the Screaming Eagles welcomed me with much gusto. Food truck lunches, the search and move to a new office space, and the addition of Jess Langhaim to the team (memorable NOT just because she brought ME iced coffee on the first day.) DC life became the new normal and we continued to grow in numbers, policies, strategies, and grants. Just shy of my 5 year anniversary, the time has come for me to move on from the #EdReform world.
As I prepare to sign off of our social media channels this afternoon, so many of these memories are flooding back. So many memorable moments.
More than anything, I am grateful. Thanks to the @ExcelinEd for being a part of my life, for taking a chance on me, for helping me grow professionally and personally.