As I look back upon my first three months serving as the Administrator of ESU 13, a few keywords come to mind...honored, eye-opening, and fascinating. Over the course of the last three months, I have been able to obtain a deeper understanding of the organization, its expectations, culture, and history; and most importantly, I have been reminded many times of how fortunate I am to have been selected by the ESU 13 Board of Education to serve as their administrator.

As someone who was born and raised in Scottsbluff, graduated from Scottsbluff High School, and then returned home in 2004 to work in public education, I must attest that I never fully realized (or appreciated) the multitude of valuable, essential services and programs that ESU 13 provides to our member school districts. I have had the benefit of seeing first-hand the talent and skill of those individuals providing essential services and programming to school districts. In a time when property taxes are a focal point of legislation, these services and programs are being provided at a much more economical cost than school districts could ever provide the service or program individually. In many cases, ESU 13 provides a service that could not be replicated by school districts if it was not for the opportunity for consorting of fiscal resources. In my first monthly newsletter, I will share a brief list of highlights of ESU 13’s work in western Nebraska that I have been fascinated by in three short months:

ESU 13...

— serves 21 school districts in 11 counties; service area spans 14,181 square miles, which is larger than nine states.

And in the 2018/2019 school year, ESU...

—Valley Alternative Learning Transitioning School (VALTS) eclipsed 650 graduates. VALTS now totals 654 graduates from 10 different school districts since opening in 1998;

— Staff drove 535,560 miles providing services to students and schools as well as attending professional development;

— Head Start partnered with five area school districts to provide quality education to early childhood programs which assisted in offsetting the expenses of early childhood programs that are not readily funded, as compared to other K-12 programs;

— Professional Learning Department (SOAR) provided training for 16,468 area educators;

— Early Development Network (EDN) served 234 children ages birth to 3;

— Technology Department provided network and email support to all 21 school districts;

— provided 4,337 students meaningful learning experiences through our student events and activities;

— SOAR offered 12 graduate-level courses during the Summer of 2019 for area educators pursuing continuing education and professional growth; and

— Early Childhood Special Education served 33 preschool-aged children with developmental

delays.

Throughout the last three months, I have been so impressed by the professionalism, skill, and commitment to children in the Panhandle of the entire staff. I look forward to learning more about the organization and ensuring we are maintaining and expanding the strong partnerships and exemplary service that have long been a hallmark of ESU 13.

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