Hard to Choose
I’m happy to say I have many CASS colleagues who have had an impact on me. Gary Strother, Bevan Davern, and Andrea Holowka stand out. When I became a Chief Superintendent, I didn’t really want a mentor. I was arrogant enough to think I could do it on my own. However, I didn’t want to confirm my arrogance in the eyes of others, so I agreed to participate. My only request was to pick my mentor. I had come to know Gary Strother causally through the CCSSA, and he had gifts I admired and respected…a charismatic connector. He kept the mentorship relationship alive and called often. During mutual crises, he supported me and actually made me feel like I was supporting him. Bevan and I are coterminous superintendents. I guess we’re supposed to be competitive, but he has emerged as my first call whenever I encounter a wicked problem. He is calm, wise, and has incredible emotional intelligence. And finally, Andrea Holowka. There are few I’ve encountered at the system level with such a range of expertise in so many areas. She has areas of specialty but I’ve deeply respected observing how her voice was always a part of the conversation on issues outside her portfolio.