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Joint Leadership Message to District

Friday, February 12, 2021
Good morning,
After a great deal of reflection, we would like to jointly address our community – staff, students, and families.
Over the course of the pandemic, many of you have reached out to us with impassioned thoughts and personal experiences of how our current reality has affected you, your families and our students. More than ever before, we as individuals approach our challenges with different perspectives, roles, life experiences and opinions. It has been said and is worth repeating: there is not a single solution that meets every need or solves every problem. 
The last year has stretched us and challenged us, tested us and strengthened us. It also has allowed us to learn and grow. No one in our system could have adequately predicted the drastic ways in which our work has shifted and changed over the course of the last year - but we’ve made it through, together. Through each of our lenses we have watched as our system has adapted to each hurdle. We have sometimes cleared the barrier and at times we have paused to dust one another off and save the next attempt for another day. No matter what, we just keep trying. That willingness to try is not lost on anyone.
Springfield is a district made up of individuals who are deeply committed to their work. This devotion leads to innovation and student success, it also lends itself to strong emotion when advocating for what each person believes is right. It is here that we must reflect on the idea that just because we disagree, it does not mean that any one perspective is any less dedicated to the success of our students or community. In other words, just because we don’t agree doesn’t mean we don’t want the same outcome.
This pandemic has exhausted us all. It has exploited our frustrations and at times has left us feeling down. It would be disingenuous to say that we won’t still face challenges as we continue to navigate this pandemic. Despite the challenges that remain ahead of us, we write today to reaffirm our shared commitment to and support of Springfield Public Schools. We remain steadfast in our willingness to respectfully continue difficult conversations and we ask that even though our individual patience and resolve may falter after such an extended trial, that we all show up with the grace and professionalism that our district values.
Springfield is a unique and complex system made up of individuals who work tirelessly to keep our district moving forward. Such work has highlighted the personal grit of our employees and their drive to make high-quality teaching and learning possible every single day. Their late nights, long hours and weekend work has not gone unnoticed, and on behalf of our students we are so thankful for their advocacy. 
As the year continues on we hope that students, staff and families alike will continue to share constructive feedback and proposed solutions to our challenges. While we may not always be able to make a decision that pleases everyone, each of us value the time and perspectives shared by all. 
With respect and gratitude,
Zach, Todd, Jonathan, Sherry, Lesa
Zach Bessett, Chair
Springfield School Board
Todd Hamilton, Superintendent
Springfield Public Schools
Jonathan Gault, President
Springfield Education Association
Sherry Moore, President
Oregon School Employees Association
Lesa Haley, President
Supervisors, Administrators, and Confidential