Tuesday, April 28, 2015

An Open Letter to Minnetonka

Dear Minnetonka Colleagues-

If you are reading this and were a close colleague you know by now that I gave my resignation.  The decision not to return was nothing short of heart breaking and stress inducing.  I do not believe the position I am in now is a better choice of employment for me at the moment.  It does offer unique opportunities that I wouldn't have otherwise.  I do, however, believe in keeping our family unit together (which at this time is only my husband, myself, and two fur children), and I do believe that I will eventually find a level of passion with this position.   So, to my close colleagues and to those with whom I've crossed paths with for various reasons the first thing I want to say is "thank you"!  Thank you for being you and thank you for respecting me and accepting me for who I am and am not.  You see, 'respect' was the first quality I noted as I started my employment with Minnetonka.  I distinctively remember my interview with Jan Bootsma and Mary Miller.  It was the first interview I had been to in which my probing questions and commentary were met with respect.

I remember also what I was wearing and that Judy Sandler was in pajamas; it was pajama day in the preschool rooms.  This was my first indication that my future colleagues worked as a team.  Judy was a speech pathologist not a preschool teacher; speech pathology can and often in other districts functions alone or with less collaboration.  Collaboration often is sought but difficult to obtain in many instances; it didn't appear to be the case in Minnetonka.

I want to share with you what working in Minnetonka meant to me as an individual.  From my start date to my end date I was nothing short of thankful for my occupation and employment.  Through my work both as a Speech Language Pathologist and as an Innovation Coach I found passion in what I was doing.  Pride that drove me to continuously expand my comfort zone.  Courage to question that in which I thought I knew to be true and courage also to remain true to my values.  Encouragement to learn and develop as a professional.  All of this is due in part to the structure of the Minnetonka Schools, the vision of Dennis Peterson for a culture that supports the changing landscape of education, and the people they employee.  It is because of YOU.  I can only hope that each of you will find and/or have found the same level of passion within your work that I had.  There was never a day I dreamed of ever leaving my employment.  In fact, I often marveled at how my work there never felt old and was somehow always refreshing.  I hope that it is the same for you.
With respect, Rachael

Also to the families...

Dear Minnetonka Families (that I have worked with)-

I want to also thank you for allowing me the opportunity and putting your trust in my skills to work with your children.  Thank you for teaching me about your family units and allowing me to continue to develop my skills as a therapist while working with your child.  I would love to see how your children grow and learn and develop into young adults.  I know that leaving this position does not allow for me to see it with my own eyes, so I hope chance has it that our paths will cross again someday and you can update me at that time.  The greatest teachers are children and I have been blessed and fortunate to have worked with your children!  Humbly with great respect, Rachael

If I had all the power in the world, I would have made if possible for my husbands work to transfer or for him to find a different position in his area of education (environmental science) and I would have been back in the Fall of 2015 to see you all.  Since this won't be happening I hope that this message finds it way to you and you know that I would have loved to be working with you all again.

Definition of:
Minnetonka: (in my vernacular) is: a system, an ideal, a standard for others in public education to aim for, it is high quality educators and staff members, and it is the surrounding committed community to the public schools.

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