We the People, in the Arena

In celebration of a new school year and in reflection of my 32-year career in special education leadership, I wanted to share with my CASE colleagues some words from President Theodore Roosevelt that have both inspired and sustained me in the course of my leadership:
It is not the critic who counts; not the individual who points out how the strong person stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the person who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends oneself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if one fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that one’s place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.
-Theodore Roosevelt*
To me, these words capture our work perfectly.  Each day, special education leaders are in the public school arena, striving valiantly despite varied hardships to provide a free and appropriate education to all students. We spend our time and effort in this most worthy cause which yields great outcomes for our students, staff, and community. We rise when we stumble and continually strive to do the deeds. At times, there are difficult challenges, but we are not deterred! We keep doing the work that allows us to share in the amazing triumphs experienced by our students, families, and staff. We are the people in the arena, and I am so proud to be here with you!
Kindel Mason
CASE President
*Select words have been changed to be more inclusive and representative of all leaders.  The original work is titled, “The Man in the Arena”
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Comments on "We the People, in the Arena"

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Carrie Turner - Tuesday, September 05, 2023

Very well said. Special education leaders work hard every day with a consistent focus on progress for students with disabilities. If we stumble, we get up, shake it off, and go at it again and again.

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