I've lived in Rochester for over 30 years. IBM brought me here. In 1998, I was working in a highly visible, demanding job, briefing client executives on where my company was investing its strategic resources for servers, enablement of web technologies, database, and IT infrastructure. I also had my first baby 1998 and twins a short 21 months later.
We all know technology has been changing at a breathtaking pace. As for me, trying to get 3 children in diapers ready for daycare every morning while trying to wrap my mind around the latest trends in technology and be ready to go on stage at 9:00 AM for a client audience left me numb and grumpy. I became a "surplus employee." when IBM decided to let my tether go. I have a whole new level of respect for working women who have mastered this challenge.
I was fortunate to be able to stay at home with my children thanks to the support of my husband, an engineer by education and an IBMer here in Rochester. Since 2007, I've worked part-time as a paraprofessional substitute for Rochester Public Schools. It gives me the flexibility to be at home when my children need me. It also allows me to be the anchor in our house as my husband works in a demanding, fast-paced engineering group.
My work as an insider on the front line for the school district has given me a close up view of the struggles schools and families are facing today. I could never have had this view as a parent volunteer or a PTSA participant. I've come to the conclusion that educating a child to be a successful, contributing citizen requires 3 things:
1. A family committed to building their child's cognitive and social skills.
2. A school that provides a disciplined, challenging academic environment
3. An economic community that surrounds the child with success – people with jobs, an education, and a pride in themselves.
But, when any of these three components get derailed, success is less certain: an unstable life can crush a child's confidence and spirit. Going to a school with too many behavior issues can frustrate the most talented student. And a child needs to be surrounded by neighbors, family members and friends who show by their lifestyle choices that focus on work and education are the path to a better life.
I know some of this through personal experience. I overcame some challenges in my
own family and childhood and was helped along the path of life by supporting mentors and role models.
Along with working for the Rochester Public Schools for the past few years I have also been writing. The Rochester Post Bulletin has been generous in publishing several of my Opinion and Commentary pieces. My father was a journalist, my mother an English major. The love of language and writing runs in my family's history.
I've also been studying topics I never had time to while employed by the technology business. I guess I'm a late comer to the classic liberal arts education. I get back more than my fair share from the tax dollars I've put into the public library over the years.
I look forward to a new challenge, being of service to our community at a time when clear-headed thinking and the ability to make difficult decisions is of utmost importance.
Info from: http://www.susannee.org/