Communication and Relationships

I have been fortunate to be an educator since my college graduation in 1988. I have also known the joy of coaching and the fulfillment of ministry during the last three decades. My family is a great blessing and has been a part of many experiences in the educational arena. I would never trade the experiences I have had—enjoyable and challenging alike—for anything else because I have gotten to work with people and have gotten to push and support them to be their best at the same time I was growing myself.

I appreciate every day how fortunate my wife Cindy and I are to live in a community like Indianola, serving a tremendous school district. As I interact with school staff in all different roles, I am continually impressed by their dedication, their concern for students, and the quality of their work. As I visit with students and attend a wide variety of events, I am so proud of what Indianola CSD students achieve and the people they are. As I work with the school board on governance and with advisories and support groups, I am thankful for their wisdom and input. Indianola CSD and the community of Indianola have a deservedly excellent reputation, and this is because of the people in our community and their concern for others.

This school year I am going to have a renewed commitment to communication and relationships. Over and over in my life and my career I have seen the power of communication and relationships. I am so thankful for the wonderful students, parents, and colleagues I have met through the years! I have also seen needless concern, hurt feelings, and stress when these two powerful forces, communication and relationships, are not attended to or are not used in a positive manner. We see this play out in homes, schools, workplaces, and the media across America and across the world. It certainly does not have to be that way. We can all commit to having good communication and strong relationships.

There are so many examples of positive things happening around us, but let me share a couple of timely local examples. During the month of July, Deo Wasswa Mulema has been visiting Indianola from Kampala, Uganda, in East Africa. Deo is the head librarian at Heritage Christian School, an American school in Uganda. He reached out to me by email last year, wanting to visit our year-round program at Irving Elementary during his school break. I invested a little time in him, Principal Amy Jo Naughton and School Librarian Suzi Burris were enthused, and families stepped up to host Deo. After much work at his end to get the needed approvals, Deo has enriched the lives of people he has interacted with here, the Irving staff has welcomed him, and he has learned much to help him and his students in Uganda.

Another current example is a project undertaken by Senior Chris Brandt and a group of student ambassadors he has assembled. Chris is heading a Red, White, and You campaign to bring a huge 25’X50’ American flag on a 70’ pole to Indianola Stadium. This is a teenager who knows the community and country can use positive causes to rally around during these challenging times. Chris has worked with school administration, the school board, and a local contractor to pursue this idea and deal with a myriad of details. He has enlisted fellow students and received donations from enthusiastic community supporters. When a massive Stars and Stripes flies at Indianola Stadium, it will be a visible representation of cooperation and patriotism and a great finishing touch to that wonderful facility.

I try not to be a prideful person, but I am immensely proud of Indianola’s students, staff, and facilities. The community has invested in all of these things and should be proud, too. I hope I never fail to communicate my gratitude for everything people do to make Indianola such a great place to work and learn and live. I hope I never take for granted the importance of relationships as we go through life’s ups and downs.

Thank you, and please feel free to reach out to me with your ideas or comments. My email is and my office phone is 515-961-9500.