Of all the jobs I’ve had in life, I have never found a more fulfilling mixture of challenges, responsibilities, and enjoyment than the experience of being a parent. I am fortunate to share that experience with an extraordinary woman named Becky, whose heart, wit, and altruism are rivaled only by the pluck and sparkle of our brilliant daughters. Becky and I share a commitment to put children first, and we rely on that principle as a compass to guide the decisions we make and the lives we lead.
As a dad, I know how it feels to worry every day about the state of the world and to wonder if we’re setting kids up to create the future they want for themselves. I understand the conflicting emotions of a parent who wants to keep their children safe while simultaneously raising them to be bold and independent. I also know all too well the anxiety of having to choose between being present for your child and working to provide for them.
Over the course of my career, I have been fortunate to teach in a variety of classrooms, but my love of teaching began the day I came to North Carolina to begin a new chapter in my life as an instructor for Duke University’s Talent Identification Program. I spent summers helping some of the nation’s brightest kids cultivate their hidden talents and satisfy their thirst for knowledge; and I learned that teaching is far more than instruction. It’s a complex amalgam of things like empathy, encouragement, expertise, and relevance, stitched together with pop-culture knowledge, groan-worthy puns, and often a bit of sorcery for good measure. And that’s on a good day.
I know what it’s like to be at the bottom of a long, bureaucratic chain of command, executing policies that make little sense in practice. I’ve triple-checked my budget to make sure I could cover the missing supplies my class needed for their group project. I have also grappled with the paralyzing uncertainty of not knowing whether or not I’d be invited back for another year.
Those who know me well know I make no apologies for having a progressive stance on issues. I champion things like equality, inclusion, and social responsibility — both in education and throughout society as a whole. My principles guide me as I advocate for causes, but I welcome discourse and celebrate the reality that we all see the world through slightly different lenses. I believe we can find common ground on issues where we disagree by relying on empirical evidence as an objective source of truth.
An idealist at heart, I believe we all have limitless potential for doing good and an innate desire to help one another. But I’m also a pragmatist; and I understand that principles and beliefs, however noble they may be, only set the heading. Real progress requires compromise, cooperation, and meaningful action.
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