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!

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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.