Why Walla Walla? Why Willow?
As I prepare for my transition to Walla Walla and begin sharing with friends and colleagues, the question I get again and again is “Why Walla Walla?” Many ask if I have family in Washington or if I’m from Washington. I don’t, and I’m not. I’m just excited about Willow. St. Louis, Missouri—at just over 300,000 people—is the smallest metro area I’ve ever lived in. Walla Walla is approximately 10% of that population, and I can’t wait to be part of that count!
I visited Walla Walla in October. The weather was beautiful, and I enjoyed wandering Main Street, but it was the passion Dan, and Katie exuded for Willow that made me consider the move. Working in education, I have had the opportunity to meet many educators who are full of care for kids and dedication to their work. I loved seeing that care and dedication paired with concrete planning for a new charter school in Walla Walla!
I think a lot about students and families who are choosing to join Willow and find a lot of similarities between their decision-making and mine. I’m leaving a job that I know and students that I love for an adventure and a brand-new school with an amazing vision. I’m taking a risk, knowing that all the templates aren’t built, and every challenge hasn’t yet been met. Students and families might be leaving a school that they’re familiar with and friends and teachers that they know for the hope of a school that’s different, that’s personalized for them. They’re taking a risk, too. Every lesson plan hasn’t been built, and all the clubs don’t exist yet. These are our building years, the time we have to collaborate and create a school together.
When moving to something new--whether a new job, school, or town—you have to expect and embrace unknowns. One thing is sure, though: Willow is comprised of dedicated education professionals and community members that are here to create something great. Changing jobs and changing schools is a big deal and a huge decision. For me and many students and families, Willow is worth it.