Dear Friends and Community Members,

Who could have predicted more than 30 years ago that I would fall so deeply in love with a wonderful, compassionate, strong little community located in the heart of central New Jersey? Robbinsville is a place where neighbors support one another, celebrate one another’s successes and commit to the greater good. As I anticipate my upcoming retirement, it is important for me to share my immense gratitude for the legions of people who have mentored, guided, challenged, and encouraged me along the way. It has been a true privilege and joy to serve alongside you as we have built an educational environment in which the students of Robbinsville are able to reach their highest potential.

For those that may not know, I was hired as a basic skills teacher in 1986 and over the next 17 years taught in various grade levels and content areas before moving into administration in 2001. Each role came with unique challenges and opportunities to stretch, grow, learn, and contribute to this special community.

So, to all of you, I humbly say thank you.

To our incredible and hardworking staff: Please accept my deep gratitude for your strength, love, and support. You are an inspiration! Each of you has made a steadfast commitment to providing the best for our students, whether through learning opportunities in and out of the classroom; caring for students’ physical and social-emotional health; building our technology infrastructure; taking pride in cleaning and repairing our buildings; safely transporting students to and from school each day; lovingly preparing and serving lunches for our students; serving on the frontline in the main offices or behind the scenes in the central office. No matter what role or department, each member of our community understands that love becomes visible through our sacred work.

Thank you to each member of the administrative team. I can wholeheartedly attest to the benefits of surrounding yourself with people who are smarter than you. Over the years we have encouraged one another to take risks and to step beyond our comfort zone. Helping each other elevate our professional judgment and practice has allowed us to bring our best selves to the table and because the team is so smart, each member clearly understands the value of kindness and generosity. It is your humor, grace, and heart, that makes the district a better place!

I would be remiss if I didn’t take a moment to mention my dear friend Steve Mayer, with whom I worked for seven joyful years. Steve personified the meaning of the term servant leader. He laid the path for all of us and helped us discover a well of strength and love within each of us. I will continue to carry his memory with me in the days ahead as I forge my own new path.

to all of you, I humbly say thank you.

Thank you to past and present members of the Robbinsville Board of Education. Many of you know that our board has a long-standing reputation for putting the district and our students first. Based on experience, I can tell you that each of our board members devotes countless hours each week to volunteer service. Our current members stand upon the shoulders of many before them whose service and selfless contributions led to new building facilities, new streams of sustainable revenue, cohesive curriculum, and improved systems designed to strengthen the organization. Thank you for bringing your passion, intellect, insight, and resources to the table. Thank you for always putting kids first!

I am grateful for the many parents and families with whom I have developed so many long lasting friendships over the years. We have rejoiced with one another when times have called for celebration and have held each other up when tragedy has struck. Know that I will appreciate and remember you always.

Over the years the district has developed a healthy partnership with the township to ensure that our students and families have access to the best services. Thank you to Mayor Dave Fried, his administrative team, and town council whose commitment to a sustainable community has challenged us to be creative and vigilant in our approach to resources for sustaining our schools. Most recently, we partnered with the Robbinsville Hydroponic Farm to assist our families during the COVID-19 outbreak.

I can’t say enough about our phenomenal SROs as well as other members of the police force and fire department. Because you have been woven into the fabric of our school community and have established strong and positive relationships with students, they know they can count on you should the need arise. Thank you!

Finally, thank you, thank you, thank you to our wonderful students both past and present! Thirty-plus years ago it never crossed my mind that there would come a day when I would be in a position to hire some of the same students I had the privilege of teaching. I am beyond delighted that a new generation of stellar teachers like Marissa Dilts Rosol, Brian Williams and MJ Seiler Matthews have returned to Robbinsville to impact young lives. Thanks to the amazing students who have graced our classrooms, I am confident our world is a better place. How do I know? One graduate has become a brilliant business woman who now runs an essential day care establishment where my dog Henry eagerly attends. I am the truly grateful client of another graduate who uses art and science and her own unique brand of magic to color and style my hair. Another R’ville student is my dentist…and if that is not true trust, I don’t know what is! As we increase our cohorts of graduates, I will continue to follow and support you as you follow your dreams and change the world in the years to come.

As I reflect upon my decades in the teaching profession, I return time and again to the notion that everything we do as educators begins as an act of love. As we develop deep and abiding relationships with our students, their parents and with each other, we hope to inspire the young minds in our charge to love learning, develop trust in the world around them, and feel safe in the knowledge that life is always changing, ever unfolding. Now, I must admit, I am sentimental and a bit apprehensive as I imagine what the future has in store for me, but as author/poet Sage Cohen writes, “When gratitude is the ground on which we stand, we can be satisfied with life exactly as it is and relax into the unknown.” These are wise words indeed.

Beginning on July 1, I just may follow the lead of many graduates and take a gap year to give myself time to recompose and reinvent myself. One writer describes this time as becoming mulch. Mulch’s one main responsibility is to cover the surface of the soil. This quiet and dormant decomposition process enriches the soil’s fertility. For me, becoming mulch may mean slowing down, looking around, remaining open, and allowing the universe to lead me to what is next. In between spending time with my new grandson Rowan, reconnecting with nature, reading, and taking naps, I will be cheering for all of you as you continue to ensure that our students are thriving and flourishing under the passionate and visionary leadership of incoming Superintendent Brian Betze.

This has been a joyful and profound journey dear friends and, as my time in Robbinsville draws to a close and I begin to relax into the unknown, I hope you will join me in cherishing the magnificence of each moment as it unfolds before us. Thank you and God bless.