On August 4, 2015, I was invited to speak on a panel discussion at the EdSurge California Schools Summit at UC Davis. The topic was how to Increase Students’ Collaboration, Creativity and Critical Thinking. The conversation was lively and the sharing of ideas was inspiring. There are so many leaders and innovators trying to improve the experience for our students in schools. But that was the second most important event of that conference.
The trip to Davis was an opportunity to reflect on the last 40 years of my life. The afternoon before the Summit, I took my bike and rode around the campus and town that set the foundations for my life, family, and career. It was over 40 years ago, a young man left home from Torrance, CA, and entered UC Davis as a freshman in the fall of 1975. As I rode my bike past familiar buildings and new settings, places I lived, churches I attended, I was deeply grateful for those years. It was at UC Davis that I learned how to learn, met my wife-to-be, and set the foundations for a life and career that has been deeply satisfying.
I was the first in my family to attend college. I am thankful to my parents who sacrificed and supported me to earn my degree in Nutrition Science and my teaching credential. As I fast-forward to my current work as a superintendent in Milpitas Unified, I am called to “pay-it-forward” to the 10,300 students in our district to help them prepare for their futures and dreams. The most important investment of human and financial capital we can make is in the next generation of students.