This weekend, we will conclude the 2012-2013 school year, and the focus will turn to our graduating seniors as they walk across the stage on June 9th.

At this time, then, let me take a moment to offer my thanks to the Marshall community for the opportunity to serve as your leader the past three years.

Over the course of this blog, I’ve written more than 110 entries sharing my thoughts on educational trends and Marshall School, as well as offering congratulations to a variety of students and faculty on specific accomplishments.

Marshall School is a wonderful place, filled with inquisitive and hard-working students and passionate faculty. In the day-to-day of our work together, we can sometimes fail to see this specialness — as we get consumed with pressure of deadlines and the complexity of relationships.

It is refreshing in my role to get to see the school through new eyes on a fairly regular basis.

I hear stories about the welcoming warmth of our student body from new parents, who are anxious about the transition for their children. I hear about the high expectations that we hold in our curriculum from transfer students in almost every grade level. I hear about the intense pride students have in Marshall when I take seniors to lunch each spring.

I get to see Marshall regularly through a different lens when we recruit new faculty. The interview process affords a chance to see how outside professionals view the school. ¬†Candidates are impressed with our students, faculty, and programming. All are impressed particularly with the school’s mission-driven focus.

Of course, it is one thing to impress a candidate during an interview and quite another to hold that good feeling over the long haul. I absolutely love it when a new faculty member stops by my office, usually towards the end of the first year, and says: “Thanks! Thanks for hiring me. I love my students. I love working here.”

This has happened a lot in the last three years, and that positive energy is infectious.

I see Marshall through different eyes when I meet with trustees and community members — folks who believe passionately in the transformative power of education and the importance of educational choice for a community like Duluth. Our board members hold the school’s mission in trust — valuing the history but focusing on the future. The changes in our science program and the focus on technology reflect a belief about what competencies our students will need in this new world.

It has been my pleasure to serve the school and its students over the past three years.

Marshall School is a special place that will continue to be embraced by new families, new faculty, new administrators, and new trustees. They will be attracted by the school’s mission, its belief in innovation and continual improvement, and its focus on building a strong community.