Dear Students, Staff, and Community,
First, I would like to humbly thank our wonderful students, staff and community for the overwhelming support of the budget and roof bond on May 15, 2012. The vote of 2547 yes, 895 no, for the budget and 2397 yes, 761 no, for the roof bond represent approximately 74% in favor of both the budget and bond. In the traditions of our democracy and the right to vote, it is most gratifying to see the community come together in support of our schools. Considering that we have built pluralities of 57%-74% in the past 6 years, especially in such difficult economic times, it is wonderful for both the present and future of our students and schools. I am proud as your Superintendent to be a small part of the building cohesiveness and trust between our schools and community.
In that regard, as you know I have considered it a privilege to be Superintendent of Schools in Port Washington for the last decade. I have often shared with friends and colleagues that being Superintendent of Schools in Port is the most demanding and most rewarding job that I have ever held. Beginning in 2002, emphasizing academics, athletics, the arts and volunteerism as our vision, our 10 year partnership has produced soaring student achievement, a golden age of education recognized nationwide in both television and news media, and a wonderful home-school partnership second to none anywhere. That said, the time is right for me to notify you that I intend to retire from Port on July 31, 2012.
A Superintendent's vision and time can be evaluated in several ways. Some look at facilities and fundraising. In those regards, together we took on the 68 million dollar bond in 2002-2003, and finished on time and under budget. Together we fundraised with the AAPW for a new turf field(approximately 1.1 million), with the Ed Foundation for a new Slade Center for the Arts and grants for our teachers(more than 500k), and various donations ranging from new message boards to the development of Harbor Links fields(approximately $300k). We are known as cost savers, and in beautifying Campus Drive in particular we eliminated tandem parking, built beautiful brick columns, etc using our own staff and saving hundreds of thousands of dollars in the process. We even built a new track entirely from cost savings based upon the hard work coming in under budget in the bond(plus new grants), rebuilt the Monfort steps for our students, and had beautiful gardens built environmentally working with Residents for a More Beautiful Port Washington. Many additional grants came from the excellent relationships built with legislators from both parties.
Another way to measure a Superintendent's vision and time is through teambuilding and staff/community raised morale. From the defeated budgets and bonds that we inherited, our community now overwhelmingly supports budgets and bonds with 6 consecutive years of 57%-74% landslide passing of budget and bond votes. When we started together many of our bargaining units were without contracts and the then head of one of our bargaining groups even openly discouraged teachers from applying to Port. I am very proud to be a student and staff advocate from day one through today, and that morale has been very high in the open climate and fair contracts that have marked our decade together.
Finally, perhaps the most important measure of all is student success and well-being. I have unwavering faith that the tremendous gains that our students have made noted by the incredible national recognitions in the "Wall Street Journal," "New York Times," Channels 2 and 4 etc, will continue. In my decade here, every student has treated me so well that it truly humbles me. The volunteerism toward the environment, feeding the hungry, participation in the arts and athletics, etc, are very special and I hope will be built upon in the future. I am very proud to have been a small part of this terrific student success, and am most proud of student excellence in college acceptances and graduation rates in this diverse community.
So, in saying good bye, I will stay and help in the transition plan for a time. It is my honor to have served you, and on behalf of my family, thank you for the tremendous support and partnership. I publicly thank my wife of 31 years who gave up so much of her time with me so that we could all work together to build Port, with its wonderful traditions, into the powerhouse district that it is today. You know, when I first walked into a 4th grade classroom of migrant workers children in September, 1968 while trying to play professional baseball, I had no idea that I would end up in Port Washington in 2012. It has been a wonderful ride, and thankfully, in good health and high in spirit, I wish all the very best. I leave as our great President Abraham Lincoln said "with malice toward none and charity toward all." My family and I wish you the very best.
Dr. Geoff Gordon