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From The Desk of GISD Superintendent Don Jackson


Special to The Messenger

In the public school systems today, we have a conglomeration of many generations. We have Baby Boomers (born 1946-64); Generation X (born 1965-77)which I am proud to be a part of; Millennials (born 1977-95) and iGen (born 1995 or later). I get a kick out of how each generation tries to impose their will on the other. As superintendent of Grapeland ISD, I really love the amusing and amazing challenge to try to mesh different belief systems and all come out on the same unified page.

My dad was born in 1904 he would be called a Traditionalist. He was 69 when he passed away in 1973 when I was 8 years old. There is one thing that he left me with that I would like to share and that is an old soul. They called it Traditionalist long ago, but today, some people today may call me “old school”.

Being old school has left me with some beliefs that I am very proud of.

First of all, I think that if a job is worth doing, it’s worth doing right. I don’t understand slothfulness or people who don’t give their total attention to all of their chosen endeavors. It bugs me when people show up and go through the motions and miss opportunities to be more effective or to have more influence on those around them. I believe the most important day is today.

As educators we must realize that now is always more important than next and that today could be the day that you say or do something that will positively affect someone for the rest of their life. I am learning that I am more effective when I put my cell phone down and look up at the world in front of me.

Yes, I know I’m old school because secondly, I think excuses are for losers. I believe winners don’t make excuses, but they focus on results. When they fail, they admit that they failed and hold themselves accountable. My sister died the other day at the young age of 45. She was sick a large portion of her life due to kidney failure and diabetes. It made me really sad and I grieved her heavily, but privately. I know she would not want me to use her for an excuse. She certainly would not want me to climb in the casket with her. She would want me to keep living life to the fullest and not make excuses.

My third old school belief is that I loathe people who huddle up in small groups to whine and complain. I believe it is counter-productive to fester and wallow in negativity. I believe that problems should be identified, but solutions should be discussed.

Don’t get me wrong, everyone has the right to have their opinion, but is that opinion based on love, service and sacrifice for your fellow man or is it based on hate, self-service or selfishness? For example, I believe that Donald Trump, our President has made some questionable leadership choices and decisions, but he is still my President. I can’t ask people to love Barack Obama because he is black and hate President Trump because he is white. Race has nothing to do with what is right or wrong… We all have been wrong and came up short of our divine expectations… So let’s identify what is wrong and discuss and dwell on the solutions.

Fourth, I think our appearance speaks for us before we even open your mouth. Simply put, we must understand that there is a time to dress up and a time to dress down. I truly would love to dress comfortably all the time but I can’t. I’m so glad that being old school has taught me when to step up, dress up and never look down upon people, but have high expectations for myself first – and then others. I love to see a sharp dressed, well-groomed young person. It makes me think, “This student is on their way somewhere.” New school beliefs say dress to express… Sorry, but I like the old school belief of dress to impress.

In conclusion of this message I want to encourage all of our Traditionalist, Baby Boomers and Gen X folks in the community, county or country to keep teaching, preaching and reaching. No, we don’t have to settle for life as it is becoming.

Yes, we may see many things that upset us and we may upset others, but don’t change. Let me encourage you to have the intentional intensity and systematic synergy which will make an impact of influence, which may influence someone’s actions to transcend their age.

With that being said, the importance of Attendance- (Coming to school every day,) Attitudes- (Having the right disposition in any given situation,) Academics- (Valuing your education and knowing that it will determine your success,) Attention- (Respecting the classroom and the teacher by looking, listening and learning,) Appearance- (Appropriate dress at appropriate times) and Aspirations- (Having goals for how you will make a living) will be the focus of Grapeland ISD for as long as I’m allowed to be a part of it. I’m learning to be a little more tolerant, but only until I get the chance to be transforming.

Funny story, I’m helping coach my son’s Little Dribblers team this year and sometimes they look at me like I’m crazy and shake their heads. Why? Because I’m old school. What may be the norm to them is always assessed and addressed.

Well, in other words, it sets me off into a nice and kind mini-tirade when they don’t play the right way and become individuals in a team sport. I try to hold it in, but I can’t conform – conformation is the enemy of the world today.

We must never get comfortable with what is wrong. Transformation is our friend. I’m so thankful for things that get under my skin, they are my motivation for a message. It’s my dad’s fault. If he was still living he would be 114 years old. Thanks James Harper Jackson for the old soul and the self-proclaimed title of being “old school”. Yes my friends, times do change, but some things must remain the same.

Hope everyone had a safe and enjoyable Spring Break and will be ready to finish our school year on a great note. #SPND