It still doesn’t feel real. That’s the honest truth.
Last week I announced that after I finish this school year I will be taking a brand new position. I will be the Director of Culture and Strategic Leadership at TEPSA (Texas Association of Elementary Principals and Supervisors Association).
That decision was not an easy one. Why? Because I love my school, my students, and my team. I’ve spent 5 years as a campus principal, all in Navasota. I’ve grown into who I am because of the people I surrounded myself with here. Over the last five years the change we’ve brought about is tremendous. And when you build something from the ground up, straight from your hearts, it’s hard to walk away.
Over the last 5 years I’ve had the honor of starting Dinner with a Gentleman (which just celebrated it’s 4th annual event), hot dog cookouts every semester, a House System, redesigning the school spaces, and even making sure every child goes home with at least 20-30 books every year through work with Scholastic. I’ve watched discipline drop over 90% in my years here. I’ve seen staff turnover in the single digits. I’ve worked to recruit people from all over the state and country to join our mission.
I’ve laughed, I’ve cried, I’ve struggled, I’ve cheered. And I’ve done it all alongside my family. These students and staff.
So if I love them and this school so much, why am I leaving? Well, the answer isn’t an easy one. My wife and I spent many nights in prayer and conversation deciding if I was ready for this.
The last year has been one of soul searching for me. With the loss of my mother and then quite a few happenings throughout the year that followed, I began to really look at my strengths and what I could do to make a bigger impact.
I knew if I was ever going to step out of the principal role, it had to be something that would still allow me to keep my finger on the pulse of what’s happening in schools and classrooms.
So when TEPSA and I connected and talked possibilities and dreams, things just began to fall into place and I knew God was leading me to my decision.
As I enter this last month of school with my Webb family, I look forward to continue making memories. I look forward to soaking in every minute, give more hugs and high fives, tell more people how much they mean to me and the great job they’re doing. I find myself, even now writing this, tearing up at the smallest things. Just yesterday a little boy ran up and gave me a hug and said “Mr Nesloney I love finding you every morning to give you a hug” and I almost broke down on the spot.
With my work at TEPSA I know I’ll be impacting even more lives. I’ll have the opportunity to celebrate and amplify the great things schools are doing across the state, I’ll be able to attend region meetings, build up membership, share stories of schools on social media, grow leaders and educators, and even more fun surprises. It’ll be different for sure, and my time here at Webb will never be forgotten, but it’s a next step I am excited about and ready to grow with.
Turning a page doesn’t erase the pages before it. It’s all a part of my story. A story I’ll go back and re-read often. But turning the page does lead to the next exciting chapter. So here goes….