Lockwood Elementary School (PK-4)
A Message from Mr. Bean
32 years ago I was going to be a RockStar. My Mom told me I needed something to fall back on, so I decided to become a teacher and tour the world over the summer. My first year as a teacher was disastrous and I was not good. The thing that changed was, I started to fall in love with the kids and knew I had to do a better job. Their smiles and love gave me an energy that was hard to describe. Now don’t get me wrong, by the end of the day that energy felt like I had just jumped around on the stage for 3 hours and I was exhausted. I even brought my guitar to school and played silly alphabet and number songs and everyday the kids cheered. I walked the kids out to the buses everyday in my black leather jacket and hair back in a ponytail and thought, just maybe this long haired crazy kid might have a hard time being accepted by this community. But the kindness by all the children, parents, and colleagues never ceased to amaze me. My life changed a little everyday. You all made me feel loved and my heart felt a true calling.
I am not really sure how I became the principal, nor did I have any intention of doing so. I do know that a good friend confronted me and told me I was selfish and that I could impact more kids and people if I became the principal. That really was the start of my path here at Lockwood Elementary as an administrator. During the whole time here, I have worked with some pretty spectacular children, parents, teachers, administrators, Boards of Education, maintenance staff, cafeteria staff, nurses, secretaries, and anyone else I have forgotten that has helped our school to be the special place it is. Each one of the groups helped to build me into the person I have become today. When I look into the mirror, I like myself better now than I ever have. I wish that the know-it all attitude of a 32 year old kid would have been overtaken by the zen of a 54 year old man a little quicker. I wish I would have understood that being right is not the end all. A strong person should always admit when they are wrong, they should be a team player, they should forgive, grow, and learn everyday. I feel that is what I have become, more and more everyday. It is the people that you surround yourself with that make you a better person. I do believe that me surrounding myself with this Letchworth School Community has truly changed me into someone I am proud of. Thank you all very much for that. My life is more fulfilled than I could have dreamed. This part of the dream is coming to an end on April 21st when I retire.
Some people have questioned why I am leaving before the end of the year. I do believe that the new principal will have time to make some changes for the new school year including student and teacher placement , make curricular changes, plan for professional development that might be needed over the summer, and to work on LEAP and how it needs to change. To be truthful, I also believe that some new blood and different thinking can help to move education forward in the elementary. I still have great passion for everything at Letchworth, but realistically I am also stuck in my old ways in some things. I do not want to be that guy that just holds on. I have always wanted to be the Principal that was different and able to reach kids in a different way. I am so proud of all the music videos, songs we wrote, LEAP assemblies, shirts we printed with positive messages for kids, crazy skits, the social emotional curriculum we have put in place, and how we taught kids to Be Safe, Be Respectful, Be Responsible, and Be a Scholar in a different manner than any school I know. Also in the midst of a pandemic we adopted 2 new curriculums to move our students forward academically, while other staff may have driven me out of town…this staff made things happen. Everything we have done has been a true team approach with all my great teachers, and I fail miserably without them!
I also know that school has been my life and with all the good also comes sadness. Sometimes I can’t go to sleep thinking about some of the sad things that are going on in our kids' lives and also about what we can do to make our school better. It is hard to turn the worrying off, but it is time. It is time to turn the magic and a little bit of the worry over to someone else, whom I trust immensely. It is also time for me to do something different and be there for my family. My mom and dad aren’t getting any younger, and I want to hang out with them a little more. I also want to go for walks with my dogs in the morning, build guitars, do a Youtube channel, play music, work on cars, maybe be a college education professor, build a garage, and drive my tractor. You get it, one part of your life done and then start living the next.
My ego also knows that there are many great leaders out there who can pick up where I left off and make things even better. The goal of leadership is to develop people around you to be leaders and to make yourself obsolete. I am very proud of the elementary and who they are and who they have become. I know we are not perfect and have things to work on, but I also believe that they are a highly functioning group of problem solvers and leaders who love kids and will do what is right for you and your children. I am also proud that we as a District have decided to grow leadership from within. I was one of those teachers that came up through the program. Mr. King and Mrs. Webster just went through the program. I am very pleased and proud of both of them, they are incredible people, teachers and leaders. Mr. King became our Assistant Principal/Athletic director at the beginning of this year and now I am very proud to tell you that Mrs. Webster has been chosen to replace me as the new Lockwood Elementary Principal. Please show her the grace that you have blessed me with all of these years.
In closing the only thing I ask of this community is to not forget the basic principles of respect, hard work, and love. At times, let your kids fall and fail before picking them up. Hold them accountable. Teach them to dream big. Love them with all your heart, but also don’t forget tough love (that's the hardest one)! Don’t give up on relationships just because things get tough. Model how to disagree. Come together and solve problems. Don’t let your differences tear you apart, let them bring you together.. Give your children your time, not a phone or tech to keep them busy. Talk with them every opportunity you can. Color, cut, paste, and create. Don’t buy their love…earn it through the hard work of being a parent. Don’t surround yourself with energy vampires, surround yourself with positive people that help you grow (Energy Bus Stuff). Show grit. Have empathy, faith, and forgive. Be safe, be respectful, be responsible and be a scholar….oh and yeah SMILE and Enjoy the Ride!
P.S. I couldn't have asked for anything more and thank you for blessing me with your children, your kindness, and your love.