Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Joining the Durham Family

Dear Durham Family,

I am humbled, honored and elated to be joining the Durham family, and I am ready to serve. 

As the year progresses, we will have many conversations to get to know each other, but I wanted to take the opportunity to introduce myself to all of you.  My career in education began 15 years ago at an urban elementary school in Brooklyn, NY.  After graduating with a B.A. in psychology from Stony Brook University, I decided that I wanted to go to law school.  I chose to substitute teach while studying to take my entrance exams, however, after taking a long-term sub assignment, I immediately recognized that I couldn't do anything else; teaching was where I belonged, for it was where I felt most at home.  I spent five years as a classroom teacher, while completing my M.S. in Reading Education from Brooklyn College, and then transitioned to the role of a literacy coach.  My year as a coach truly prepared me to transition to the role of an assistant principal.  After receiving a M.S. in Education Administration from Touro College, I served as an assistant principal for seven years prior to moving to Houston last July.  During my first year with HISD, I served at School at St. George Place, an IB candidate school.

As a firm believer that every experience prepares you for the road ahead, my tenure at St. George Place has cemented the belief that in order to successfully prepare our students for a lifelong journey of learning, as educators and parents, we have to provide them with the tools and resources needed to face the challenges of a global society. 

The IB PYP prepares students to be active participants in their own quest for learning, while focusing on the development of the whole child as an inquirer, both in the classroom and in the world outside.  I am excited to be a part of the team that will lead Durham to a successful verification visit and will work relentlessly to sustain the program long-term.  When children are immersed in inquiry-based learning, turning in-depth investigations into important ideas, they will undoubtedly become innovators, ready to transform their community and the world at-large.

This is the type of rigorous curriculum that I would want my three sons exposed to, and the expectations for learning that I hold dear for my own children, will be the expectations that I have for each child at Durham. My children are also in their primary years, Hunter (5), Parker (4), and Sawyer (2), and with them, I see first-hand that the earlier we plant the seeds for them to be risk-takers, the more they inquire, self-reflect and gain knowledge.  I am committed to treating each of your children as I would my own, for I know that at the end of the day, parents all have the same objective - for their children to have greater experiences than they were afforded.

So enough about me....I want to get to know you and your children.  I hope that you all will take a few minutes out of your daily schedules to stop by and introduce yourselves.  My door will always be open to you and your families.  The work that we will do this year will require a collaborative effort.  We, the faculty and staff, will not be able to do it in isolation.  Know that as parents and families, your input is needed and valued.  Together we will establish the vision for the exemplary educational institution that we know Durham is, and work together, to ensure that our vision remains at the forefront of our thinking and decision-making process as the school year progresses. 

I leave you with the words of Henry Ford, "Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success."  I am looking forward to us coming, keeping, and working together for a successful 2012-2013.

Warmest regards,

Onica L. Mayers
Ready to Serve