Friday, August 2, 2002
A farewell letter from CCHS superintendent Ed Mavragis
I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Concord and Carlisle communities for the privilege of serving as their superintendent of Schools for the past three years. During that period of time, I have come to know many people who have been supportive of our efforts to maintain and improve the quality of our schools. This support has come in a number of ways, ranging from a willingness to serve on a myriad of committees to attendance at meetings at which probing questions were raised to make sure we had carefully thought out the consequences of our recommendations. Our communities, if one truly is interested in listening to its diversity, are marvelous towns filled with active and interesting individuals. It is a place of many stories.
When I first arrived here, I made it my personal goal to try to meet as many people as I could, attending as many functions as I could. There were lots of signs on lawns vote "No!" Vote "Yes!" Clearly a town divided. Interesting, people on the "no" side thought I was clearly in the camp of the "yes" side. If I spent quality time listening to the "no" side, I was accused of changing my values, and some "no" folks didn't like the fact that I think we needed to spend more money on issues that I thought were important for our children. After three years, some people still feel that way, but I don't think that many, because in most cases, people needed to feel that their concerns had an honest ear, not necessarily one that would agree with them. After thirty-six years, I'm still modifying my positions based on my conversations and experiences with people, but I'm not modifying my values. I'm basically the same person I have always been, trying to find balance that the community-at-large can support.
Early on, it became evident that everyone I met was a committee, clearly a strength of our towns. At the same time, we are so imbedded in process that sometimes we are paralyzed by inaction almost a fear of change. In balance, however, it is far better to listen longer than not at all. We live on the edge of impatience, forgetting the impact of our desire to have it all "now." Some people can afford it all "now," others cannot, and many can in small doses. We need to remember the beauty of any community lies not in the Pete Seeger "Little Boxes" song of the '60s nor in long driveways of isolation. It isn't enough to have a mix of real estate without an understanding of the needs of everyone's street. No one can have it all their way and have any credibility with the town at large.
"Yeses" and "Noes" need to spend more time with one another. I've met terrific and gracious people from every street. They are sincere, passionate and not lacking in humor. It's easier to erase lines than to build walls.
I will take with me many fond memories, and while it would be impossible to list them all, I would like to mention a few. We've hired a lot of really wonderful staff in all categories who will continue to impact our schools and communities for years to come. Teaching ninth- grade English to a group of terrific kids and feeling connected to them reminded me of why I still love being an educator. Being a member of the Concord Rotary Club is also an experience I could never forget. They do so much for our own community and schools while having fun. The many cards, calls and letters I have received thanking me for my efforts to help our community, and the thanks from individuals for helping their children is the best portfolio anyone can have.
People pass in and out of our lives. Some adhere. I have been truly fortunate to know you.
© 2002 The Carlisle Mosquito