Reflections on My Last Day

Today is my last day with SAU 16, the School Administrative Unit that serves the towns of Brentwood, Exeter, East Kingston, Kensington, Newfields and Stratham, New Hampshire.  I was hired by one of my mentors, Bill Perkins, in the summer of 1999 as a middle school science teacher.  Truthfully, I didn’t want that job, I wanted the high school biology position that I missed out on earlier in the spring, but I figured, if I could just get in the district, I can transfer to the high school later.  I had no idea that the next decade-plus would  provide so much for me.  With deference to one of my favorite sports writers, Peter King of Sports Illustrated, here are the 10 things I think I think of my time here in SAU 16:

  1. I think the generosity and support of the professional community I served, which allowed me to acquire two advanced degrees and countless other professional development opportunities, is something I took for granted early in my career.
  2. I think the friends I have met and the mentors I have found, will continue to influence my decision making for years to come.
  3. I think I owe Andy Littlefield more credit for insisting I attend a WebCT workshop in the summer of 2000 – that was the start of my shift toward instructional and connective technology.
  4. I think I learned most when I made mistakes and I know that it would not have been possible if I didn’t have the support of my superiors.
  5. I think I had no idea how lucky I was to find employment in SAU 16 in part because it provided the stability I needed to establish roots and raise my kids here.
  6. I think I learned more from the nearly 50 teachers who joined my in PLPTristate this past year about how inherently social learning is than I ever did in any graduate course I ever took.
  7. I think I worked for and with many courageous and visionary leaders who made decisions based on the needs of kids, and some who were only interested in what was politically “doable”.  I know that I will work to be more like the former in an effort to reduce the impact of the latter.
  8. I think I will always consider myself a middle-school teacher at heart, and I will always be proud of that.  I can always learn more content, but the compassion and student-centered approach that I learned by teaching middle school will forever impact my philosophies.
  9. I think, or perhaps I wonder if, the challenges I encountered in SAU 16 in trying to enact change were unique to SAU 16.  I’m interested to find out.
  10. I think the most important thing I learned in my time in SAU 16 is that school should be about learning and less about teaching.
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12 Responses to Reflections on My Last Day

  1. And I think you learned a heck of a lot in 11 years @ SAU 16. My hat is off to you Tony. Keep your passion for education and the belief that school should be more about learning and less about teaching and you will be ONE positive force for youth of the world.

  2. tbaldasaro says:

    Thanks, Rich. I appreciate your comments.

  3. Tony,

    In my mind it is a sad day for SAU 16. I like #10 the most and if the people who make decisions in the SAU also had this at the top of their priority list then this would not be your last day. However, I know that you left the place in much better shape than you found it by getting so many teachers involved in the PLP program.

    That being said, I look forward to continuing to learn from/with you as you travel down a new and exciting path!

    • tbaldasaro says:


      Thanks. The best thing about education these days is that we can all continue to connect and learn from one another. The new part of my life will give me an opportunity to make more connections and hopefully influence “learning” even more. Appreciate your comments…

  4. Today will be a sad day, but it will also be a new beginning for you. There is a lot of change needed, and I cannot think of anyone better than you to bring that change to life.

  5. khoughtaling says:

    Fabulous reflections and philosophically I agree with many of them. I am grateful that I was able to work with you during your years at CMS. So often we forget to thank and show appreciation for those that we work with. It is something that is taken for granted. Your innovative thinking taught me a lot and I still refer back to it often when planning. Cheers to you and congratulation on your new adventure you will do fabulous things with VLacs! Don’t forget about those of us over here at CMS! Good luck and keep in touch.

  6. Dan Callahan says:

    I’m also leaving a middle school position after eight years, so point #8 really hit home for me as well. I’m one of those crazy people that actually came out of college wanting to teach middle school, and it’s been such a major part of my life for so long now that it’s hard for me to fathom yet how big a change it will be going to elementary. I know I’m going to miss terribly the student-centered, team-based atmosphere that a good middle school has.

  7. Hey Tony,

    It may be your last day at SAU16, but you will continue to assist the community as an educational leader, a committed and concerned parent. Thank you for the WebCT note, but lets face it, WebCT wouldn’t have gain steamed it hadn’t been for educators like you willing to take the risk and step out of your comfort zone. As Dr. Chris Dede said today at the Online Institute, teachers usually teach the way they were taught, you on the other hand did not fit the model. You have always taken time to listen to students and find interesting ways to engage them in action research. You may not be at central office, but you will still influence educational change.

  8. Becky Tetrault says:

    I enjoyed reading your reflections. I am always inspired by you (my “little brother”). Change is good, and as you move forward in your career you will continue to inspire others and make a difference in the educational lives of young people.

  9. Pingback: geek.teacher » Blog Archive » This week’s comments elsewhere (weekly)

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