Spaces for Innovation

A New Chapter Begins…

“If you want to change the way that the world appears to be; you must change the way that you see everything in it. And if you want to change the world; you must change the way everyone else sees everything in it…” (C. JoyBell C.)

It is hard to believe that thirteen years have passed with regards to our time here in Ontario. It seems like a blink of an eye since we moved here from our home in Western Canada to embark on a journey of learning as a family. My husband, Paul,  began a new role leading and managing change within a public company, thus the impetus for the move to Ontario. When we first arrived, our children were in elementary school (Karl in grade 4 and Marina in Grade 7) and I had decided to return to the classroom to teach grade 6/7, which involved learning a new curriculum, engaging with new school system procedures and discovering new ways of “being” in an educational context that seemed entirely different from my experiences in BC and Alberta. This change, however,  allowed me to see things that I had come to take for granted and enabled me to rediscover what it is that I valued and believed must be present in our collective pursuit of quality and excellence for all learners in our schools and institutions.

Flash forward thirteen years . . . I completed my masters degree and thesis “Optimizing Innovation in Praxis” (2012); our children graduated from university–Marina graduated last year (2012) with a Bachelor degree in Environmental Science from Carleton University; Karl graduated on Thursday, June 6th, 2013 with a Mechanical Engineering degree from Queen’s University; Marina starts graduate studies in the fall at Simon Fraser University, while Karl patiently awaits the fruits of his university learning in the form of employment. Life certainly offers us many opportunities to see the world anew if we choose to put ourselves in and amongst places of possibility.

As someone who never ceases to engage with the spaces and places where possibility for learning might be nested, I am excited to be setting out on a new pathway for learning, as Assistant Superintendent with Surrey SD36. This wonderful opportunity will allow me to bridge the important aspects of my beliefs as an educator that I brought with me in my heart and mind thirteen years ago, with the new understandings and thinking I have developed in the time we have been here in Ontario. To this new role of Assistant Superintendent, I bring along the learning from and with amazing educators that I have had the good fortune to come to know, work with and develop friendships. To name but a few:

In reflecting on the quote shared at the outset of this post, particularly the last line “if you want to change the world [education], you must change the way everyone sees everything in it”,  I embark into this next phase of my learning with hopefulness and great anticipation that the continued learning conversations shared via Twitter will help us to bridge the inadvertently constructed Provincial silos that creep into our thinking from time to time, and will remind us that all learners (from coast to coast of this wonderful country) are our shared responsibility, and the learning and teaching journeys can be supported through a collective wisdom and wondering shared across the distance and far reaching corners of our individual contexts.

Thank you, Ontario, for the learning I now bring in my heart, mind and spirit into my new role in BC.

I look forward to the unimagined possibilities of working together  between and across our two provinces in the very near future. And thus, a new chapter begins . . .

Miigwetch.

5 comments on “A New Chapter Begins…

  1. Brian Harrison
    June 9, 2013

    Wonderful news! I know how happy you must be to be returning home and how strong the pull to the west has been. in another age I would have felt a twinge of the bittersweet-but in reality; we will continue to collaborate and encourage each other and I’m happy to count you among the many B.C. educators who have enriched my PLN. Angie and I will continue to visit beautiful B.C. and know that we will have yet another friend to show us around- just as you can be sure that you will always be welcome in our home should you venture east.

    Best of luck my dear friend- the folks in Surrey SD36 are lucky to have you!

    Brian

    • Karen Steffensen
      June 9, 2013

      Thanks, my dear friend. Loved our conversations and dreaming/thinking about the spaces of possibility. Look forward to finding ways to keep the dreaming and wondering between our contexts…perhaps a collaboration on the horizon?

  2. lkaser
    June 9, 2013

    Dear Karen –

    This is very good news!

    We will get to work together as Surrey has always been a key inquiry/innovation hub. The Aboriginal work is going to be powerful too.
    Bravo!

    Linda Kaser

    • Karen Steffensen
      June 9, 2013

      Thanks, Linda. Am excited to have the opportunity to collaborate with you 🙂
      Cheers! See you in the not too distant future.

  3. Beate
    June 10, 2013

    Ontario’s loss, Karen but our learning journey’s continue. :-))
    Thanks for all your contributions.

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