My family and I recently attended a showing of the new "Lion King" movie. As viewers know, a major portion of the story centers on the life of Simba, the central character and his growing up from lion cub to king.

The story somewhat reflects what happens during the course of a school year. Students come in all fresh and new, with excitement and expectation for learning and growth. Along the way, lessons are learned, physical and emotional growth take place and somewhere toward the end of the year, a new person emerges. And then the following fall the cycle repeats itself.

For me, this fall represents the start of the 37th year I have been engaged in public education in some fashion and the past six at CCS. In a similar fashion to a school year and the circle of life, professional lives also follow somewhat of a cycle. It is with this cycle in mind that I recently announced my formal retirement from education effective Dec. 31 of this year.

Public education has allowed me many wonderful opportunities to connect with students, families, co-workers and education experts in an attempt to make a difference in the lives of youth. It has been rewarding, challenging, at times filled with heartache and always fulfilling to see the development and growth in the youth I have been privileged to work with either as a teacher, counselor, coach or administrator.

Of all the roles I have had in education, none has been more rewarding than my time at CCS. It has been so gratifying to be a part of the growth and development of the students, staff, programs and the school as a whole. What I have witnessed in my time here are adults who care deeply for students and their families, families who support the school in our efforts to educate the students and an amazing community that has stepped up in so many wonderful ways.

I do not believe there is another school anywhere that has seen the kind of support from the community as we have and for that, I will be forever grateful. We would not be where we are today without talented staff, a hard working school board and organizations such as the LAKE Foundation who have taken great steps to see our school grow and prosper.

While my time at CCS is coming to an end in the next few months, I am fully confident that what we are experiencing at the school is only the beginning of exciting things to come at CCS. The school is poised and ready for the next phase of growth and new leadership will be in place to see the success of the school continue on its current path.

There will be other opportunities, but for now, I want to be sure to say thank you to the community of Crosslake, city leadership, LAKE Foundation folks, the various service organizations and individuals who support the school financially and to our kids, who are the real reason I do what I do.

Here’s to another great school year at CCS!