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Thursday, November 17, 2005

Richard Sterling and those ripples

Every so often, I am reminded of how fortunate I am: I have a job I love with co-workers I love and a boss the whole world loves.

Lest you think my nose is looking suspiciously brown, I'd like to contextualize my comment a bit.

I wasn't sure if I could come to Pittsburgh. My grandfather, with whom I am very close, in the space of approximately 4 weeks has gone from a man who still ran, by himself, the golf course he built entirely on his own to a man who has to use plastic cups to avoid glass shards when the container slips out of his hands as it so often does. It was a hard decision to make, but knowing that people were coming and going from and to Michigan almost every day, I figured I could catch a ride home if I needed to.

I'm glad I did. In the short time since I arrived, I have had numerous reminders of how Janet is one of those people she refers to in her own blog; where she goes, the water ripples. I once read a book which commented on ripples...how remarkable that stirring up a few molecules, causing the simplest of changes, can leave behind a visual reminder that the change force was there long after it's gone.

Consider our podcast with Richard Sterling (though kindly disregard the little nervous hitch in my voice when asking how initiatives like NCLB have influenced the direction of NWP). You'll notice he mentions Janet, by name, twice. You'll notice he refers to Red Cedar as a stong site. You won't be able to see the light of recogntion in his eyes that we saw when we said where we were from (though you can see a blurry picture of him with Dawn and Renee...kindly also disregard the fact that I had my camera on the wrong setting and focus on the fact that it's Dawn! And Renee! And Richard Sterling!). You can't see those things, but you should be able to hear the respect in his voice when he refers to Janet. You should be able to hear how the fact that we work under her guidance lends us an immediate credibility we might not otherwise have.

All day, I have experienced these reminders of what a ripple-impetus Janet is. From the Writing Center director from Arkansas who remarked "Of course I've heard of the MSU Writing Center!" to the warm hug I got from Elysse accompanied by the comment "Of course I remember you! You work with Janet!" I have felt so welcomed in ways that exist only because of Janet's commmittment to giving people opportunities. Heck, the fact that I'm even here -as are more than a dozen of my absolutely amazing colleagues-people I'm honored take the title of "educator" with me-is another proof of Janet's belief in educators and her willingness to back that up with action. Even when she is not physically in the room, she has stirred up the molecules enough that we can see the effects of her presence. For that, I say thank you Janet.

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