Back to School

“You’re finally a Muskie, Dad!” declared my son Henry as I prepared to start my new job as Director of Communications and Community Engagement with the Muscatine Community School District.

Last week was the start of a new journey for me and my family here in Muscatine. I have written about being a firm believer in being in the right place at the right time and not being afraid to take a leap of faith. That is exactly what happened with this exciting new opportunity. The Muscatine Community School Board has wanted this position to exist in the district for about the last two years or so. What you might not know is that I initially went to college to become a high school English teacher many years ago. So, when I began having conversations about the possibility of accepting this role, it just felt like the right move. The chance to work every day to tell the stories from all the wonderful schools across Muscatine is something I’ve actually thought about over the years. If anything, I have always tried to be a friend and supporter of our teachers and all staff.

So, last Tuesday, I walked into the administration building on Mulberry for the first time. I’m certainly not a stranger to change, as it happened professionally several times in my life. And as I think about it, each stop along my journey has helped open the door for the next. Now with that being said, I would be perfectly fine with this being my last job. From reading this column, you know that I have three children, two of which are currently enrolled in school here in Muscatine. Our daughter is just a few years behind, but will also go through the school system. I want to express my sincere gratitude to everyone that reached out last week with well wishes, including my new coworkers that I heard from last week.

I want to share with you one of the best parts of starting with the school district. Did you know that the free summer meal program was recently extended for all students in Muscatine? Well, last week, the school district sent nearly 4,000 free meals home with families to help feed their children. Isn’t that unbelievable to know the school district in addition to providing a quality education is also ensuring our kids are receiving proper nutrition?

Folks, I’m here to tell you there are so many more stories left to be told and I hope to be able to do that over the time in this role. I want to be able to introduce you to the staff that sometimes aren’t often seen, the folks working to provide meals, the bus drivers transporting our children safely to and from school, and about the crews working to clean every single classroom so that it is safe during the pandemic.

This brand new Muscatine Muskie feels nothing but pride and excitement, as I know the future is bright for our students and staff across the district. Please know that you’re free to contact me with my new work email address, which I list here, [email protected] feel free to use that if there is anything I can do for you.

Does it feel weird going back to school at 37 years old? My answer to you is it feels right.