MARK PORTERIE — PAISD School Board leads through tough time; better days are ahead
As I reflect on the year 2020, and its difficulties, not just for me but the entire world, I have resolved to have a positive attitude for the year to come.
I will count all of my blessings and take nothing for granted. I will learn the lessons of 2020 and meet the challenges of 2021 with a smile and renewed hope for us all.
The year 2020 has seemed to be at a standstill while also tossing challenges like we have never seen before. In 2020, we have learned that life can change within the blink of an eye and whether you pivot and grow, or cower with fear is all up to you.
In looking back, I am proud of the way PAISD, its staff and especially its Board of Trustees, who have led with a doing attitude, by quickly responding to the challenges we have faced in 2020.
We stood, shaking at times, as life as we knew it changed forever. As the phrase “never thought I would see that in my lifetime,” became an everyday expression, we met each challenge head-on with a resolve to never lose site of our goal, the children.
In 2020, the district lost several dedicated employees and friends. Several angels of earth went to their heavenly rest. Souls that fell victims to the virus after years of being caregivers to others; and strong, vibrant men working with their hands one day, and succumbing to the virus the next.
Through it all, we have continued to provide service to our community, while trying to stay safe and healthy. From bus drivers, custodians, cafeteria workers, aides, teachers and administrative and clerical and maintenance staff, our frontline workers tolled without ceasing.
As we experienced the lows of sick staff and students, openings and closings, we discovered new strengths within ourselves. I was proud to watch the PAISD Board lead through the unknown. School districts across the United States had to find ways to educate students.
I was proud that our Board led with actions, being and becoming what we imagined was necessary to uplift and maintain the educational system within PAISD.
The PAISD Board did not just sit and wait for others to guide us. We were the first to purchase laptops for all students, and we were the first in the area to embrace Schoology as the platform to deliver virtual instruction. Our Board led the way, as we pivoted in ways that we never would have thought possible.
This January 2021, we celebrate School Board Recognition Month. This year’s theme is “Navigating to Success.”
Being a school board member in times of change and chaos is not easy. It goes without saying that our seven-member Board has gone well beyond their duties during these last few years, and in particular the last nine months.
The job in normal circumstances is not for the faint of heart, but during these times, school board members have to stand tough and lead with conviction. Throughout this time of unprecedented challenges, our school board has been a source of reason and support for the entire District.
They have never wavered in their commitment to student success and in making sure that our staff has everything needed in order to be successful.
Since March 2020, the Board of Trustees has thought outside of the box. Some of the solutions to our challenges have been totally out of the box, others have never seen a box.
Our Board trusted the team, and supported the ideas of staff, as we moved through unchartered waters.
On behalf of the Port Arthur Independent School District, staff and students, we recognize and salute our PAISD School Board trustees for their trust, diligence and commitment to the young minds and staff of the Port Arthur Independent School District.
As we look back to 2020, we have had many losses and missed moments that we could mourn. I choose to look ahead at the great possibilities that a new year brings.
I choose to be optimistic about our future and the future of the young lives we influence. I have gratitude for all of the PAISD staff who have chosen to continue to serve our community.
All those, who have risked their own lives to continue the ministry of educating the next generation.
My hope for the New Year is that 2021 brings structure, normalcy and routine. This may be only a dream, but I know PAISD has the flexibility to pivot and take all necessary steps, while navigating to the successful achievement of our goals.
Dr. Mark Porterie is Superintendent of Schools for the Port Arthur Independent School District. He can be reached at email@example.com.
GOODBYE 2020!!! As we end the year, the City wants to provide an update on what is planned for 2021.... read more