This time of the year, we ring out the old and sing in the new. It is always a time filled with emotions. On one hand, you take a look back at the successes you had, as well as the challenges you had to face. There may be people you lost, but there are new friends you have made. And then, there’s the great unknown of the next 12 months.

The new year ahead gives us 365 opportunities to impact someone else’s life. And small things can make an impactful difference. There are 31,536,000 seconds in 2023. Yes, I looked that up. Consider the average amount of time you spend with a person each day. Those seconds can add up to many opportunities for change.

Here in Flagler Schools, I get to walk the halls of our schools and visit classrooms to watch our teachers teach, and our students learn. It is an amazing process. Teachers have a lesson plan, and students must trust the adult standing before them. There are a lot of distractions swirling in and around a classroom. Yet, through all that, a connection is made, and when you see that proverbial lightbulb go off, there is no feeling like it. And this happens hundreds of times, each and every day, on all our campuses.

I am humbled and, at the same time, proud to lead this school district. It has been an amazing two-and-a-half-years. Together, administrators, teachers, staff, parents, and students have accomplished so much over this time. I am excited to see how we can all leave our mark on 2023.

The great philosopher Charlie Brown said, “You know how I always dread the whole year? Well, this time, I’m only going to dread one day at a time.” That may be a fatalist view of life, but if you are a fan of Charlie Brown, you know that, in the end, things tend to work out for him. If you’ve had challenges the past year, simply turning the page on a calendar does not make them disappear. But there is no reason to fear the unknown of the future ahead. If we simply take it a single day at a time…or one of those 31 million seconds…you’ll find an opportunity to rise to the occasion, be a friend, just someone to listen to someone who really needs to talk to someone, or be a game changer.

So, as we close out 2022 and charge into 2023, I reflect on what the late singer David Bowie said. “I don’t know where I’m going from here, but I promise it won’t be boring.”

Elevating Excellence,

Cathy Mittelstadt
Superintendent, Flagler Schools