Friday, November 14, 2014



" And suddenly you know its time to start something new and trust the magic of new beginnings."
    Meister Eckert

The past eleven months since I began blogging have provided numerous opportunities to celebrate and reflect upon my experiences as a middle school educator.  This has been a year full of milestones both professionally and personally, having started my twentieth year as a middle school educator, celebrating my fiftieth birthday and this April, my wife and I will celebrate twenty years of marriage.  Throughout these past twenty years I have benefited greatly from the guiding and supportive hands of many experienced educators who I am fortunate to call friends. The relationships that I have built with peers, students, administrators and parents throughout my career have made a profound impact on my success as an educator. While my career is one which I reflect upon proudly, the early chapters of my professional story go well beyond the walls of Pond Road Middle School.

The journey actually began approximately 10 miles North in Lawrence Township twenty five years ago. I began working as a substitute teacher and was eventually hired as an assistant Winter Track Coach at Lawrence High School. From 1989-1995 I played an active role in helping to build a successful Track and Cross Country program until I eventually resigned in 1995.

Throughout those years I had the privilege of developing relationships and working with hundreds of quality students, athletes and coaches. The positive and consistent support that I received from my Athletic Director helped to shape the early years of my my career in education as well as my young adult life. 
These experiences during the my early years were full of life lessons that would ultimately have a lasting impact on me as an educator.  While observing the maturity of many athletes and students, my experiences with them was also part of my maturation process. Indeed it was a time when we were all coming of age, albeit at different periods of our lives.

The athletes that I was fortunate to coach directly, or watch develop taught me the value of respect, responsibility and trust. These are values that I still have the highest regard for, even today. Although I have lost contact with most of them, every once in awhile I will learn of their successes.  To actually be able to learn of their success in the adult world as a contributing member of society is indeed
quite gratifying. 

In turn, I am full of gratitude and appreciation for the countless number of veteran educators, and administrators from Lawrence Township who recognized the potential that lived inside of me.  Their mentoring allowed me to continue to move forward in this profession, ultimately enabling me to make a positive difference in the lives of thousands of young people, as both a teacher and a coach.

The foundation for my success took root a long time ago in the halls of the Lawrence Township public schools. My experiences there and the relationships that were forged there, still occupy a special place in my heart. I am reminded that every journey must have a starting line and a finish line. While the finish line for this journey looms in the distant future, I will always be grateful to the people of Lawrence Township for providing the starting line.


  1. Tom, thanks for sharing another great piece. It's so important to stop every once in the while and remember your "roots" or where it all started. Your blog reminded me of my own roots and brought a smile to my face. Thanks for the ray of sunshine!

    1. Thank you Heidi! I really appreciate your kind words and feedback.