Thank you, Dr. Soliven

Gabe Larracas


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As I contemplated what I could say or do that would even come close to encapsulating how I feel about your leadership, support, and commitment to not only every student on the campus of Cocoa High, but also to my success as a teacher, I realized rather quickly that the perfect words simply did not exist.

Any administrator worth his or her salt should possess first and foremost, the capacity to lead.  Anyone can be assigned the office or position of a leader, but not just anyone has the withitness to actually be a true leader.  To lead often means to find and promote others to lead alongside oneself toward a common goal.  To lead means to recognize the potential and talent of those in an organization and to foster that potential and talent in an effort to grow not only the organization, but future leadership.  Thank you for recognizing my potential and talent and pushing me to be a better educator and for helping to grow me as a leader.  When I think of you and our relationship, I think of how we have both pushed one another to be more and to be better, and I believe with every ounce of my being that Cocoa High is a better place because of what we have been able to accomplish by working together.

Dr. Soliven, your support of my out of the box classroom requests and endeavors is unparalleled.  From the times I asked for a smart board, laptops, group tables, a journalism class, a webpage, iPods, to the times I asked to go to this conference and that conference, you always gave me the backing that I needed to be successful.  At first, I’m not going to lie, I wondered if it was “Order this for Skipper so she’ll stop asking”, but it became very clear to me with our conversations that you believed in me as an educator and that you knew that whatever crazy request I submitted, I would use to make my classroom a better place for students to learn.

One of my most favorite memories is being at BETC, Brevard Educational Technology Conference, with you.  I knew you were several rows behind me during the keynote, and when I realized that the speaker had permanent tables in her classroom and all of the great work she was able to do, I texted you with “Wouldn’t it be great if I had all tables in my room instead of desks?”  Your reply, “Really, Skipper? Because I just got you a classroom set of Chromebooks.”  Hey.  My dad taught me that the answer is always “No” if you never ask. When I walked into my classroom at the start of the next school year and saw nothing but tables, my initial reaction was panic because I actually had to have a plan for permanent groups.  In that moment, I grew tremendously as an educator.  My classroom became instantly more collaborative, I became not only a teacher, but a true facilitator of learning, and my students are better because of your support of me and my classroom.

Last but not least, your commitment to our school, our students, and our teachers is one to be emulated.  Initially I was saddened to hear of your departure, but upon learning your new position, I knew that it just meant that your commitment to us would be shared with other secondary schools and that is definitely a great thing for Brevard Public Schools. I look forward to continuing to work with you to make our district not only the best place to learn and teach, but the place where teachers are valued and their leadership and talents are promoted every single day.

Thank you, Dr. Soliven.

Perseverance Commands Success.

In Solidarity,

Vanessa Skipper

 

 

 

1 Comment

One Response to “Thank you, Dr. Soliven”

  1. Tod McNeal on January 26th, 2017 10:37 pm

    Thank you so much for writing this wonderful, touching and accurate tribute to Dr. Soliven!

    We are a much better place here in Brevard County with Dr. Soliven in our midst!

    [Reply]

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