New year has begun


August 14, 2019

There has been undeniable excitement in the air in recent days. A new school year has begun; we are prepped and looking forward to a transformative year.

Schools and our central office have already been hopping for many long weeks in anticipation of new and returning students. There have been ongoing professional development opportunities throughout the summer for our staff, intensifying during the last few weeks, as if the new school year has already developed a momentum of its own.

After the buzzing from our buildings across the district in preparation, the culminating kickoff for staff has to be last Friday’s Convocation at Marshall Auditorium.

Many of us have attended this yearly event for decades. This year, however, there was somehow something different; you could feel a palpable new bonding of staff as we gathered together.

Our new superintendent, Renee Russ, has been busy since taking the helm in June, shifting and reorganizing staff and departments to better serve our students and teachers. There’s been concrete movement toward — in Russ’ own words — “servant mindsets … relentless in cultivating a culture that inspires…”

Also, we’ve been reminded we need to “always remember how great you are (staff) and always remember how great we are” as a school district.

With our district long striving for excellence in all areas, it’s important we re-ignite pride in our traditions and belief in who we are.

Walking into Friday’s Convocation, this was easy to remember as the 1200 or so staff were overwhelmed by the powerful performance of the traditional musical renditions of our full Clovis High School Wildcat band and color guard. About 250 students filled the stage and the aisles, surrounding us with the incredible fight songs we’ve all heard so many years.

Looking across the mass of colleagues, clapping, cheering, waving hands and arms, my eyes filled with tears, and I was not the only one. Gazing over the crowd, many had glistening eyes, some openly wiping tears, and it was like we’d become an army of educators, ready for marching orders.

Much has since been written and shared via social media about the rest of Friday’s events; inspiring speeches, surprise activities, howling laughter, and more. Something happened that morning at Marshall, though. We came together as one, hearts knit in common purpose, ready to march positively toward the new year, ready to welcome and conquer any challenges we encounter.

Our hearts are full, and we are prepared.

Cindy Kleyn-Kennedy is the instructional technology coordinator for the Clovis Municipal Schools. She can be reached at:

[email protected]


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