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Leadership Update - Oct. 2022

Five and a half years ago when I started my work as the Falcon Zone Leader, I knew instantly that District 49 is a very special place. As I began working with the zone principals, we quickly aligned in our vision for classrooms—to create student-centered spaces of learning, so all kids would have support in achieving proficiency and success. Our team came to know this vision and work as EmpowerFZ (Empower Falcon Zone).

I am incredibly proud of the changes I see today when I visit classrooms in the Falcon Zone. We have indeed transformed classrooms to places where students have a critical voice and choice in their journeys toward educational success. I give immense kudos to our teachers who take risks every day to become better facilitators of true personalized and competency-based learning. Our educators have invested time in professional learning to support this new style of teaching, and have stepped out into foreign territory and away from what has been safe and familiar, all for the sake of their students. The results are clear: students understand what standard they are working on, what elements of the standard they have mastered, and which ones they still need to gain proficiency, along with their paths to get there. This is true student engagement for every single learner, no matter their level.

In February 2023, the Falcon Zone schools will host site visits as part of the National Conference on Digital Convergence that will take place at The Broadmoor. We are so excited for other educators from across the country to come see the remarkable teaching and learning that is occurring in our schools.

As I sit writing this piece, I am filled with mixed emotions. I have feelings of pride and joy as I look back on the true teamwork among leadership in the zone and staff in our schools, while also knowing at the end of the month, I will retire from my 38-year career in K-12 education. However, combined with such exhilaration is a sense of loss as I leave the Falcon Zone and D49, which has truly been my absolute best choice to learn, work and lead. I definitely saved the best position in my career for last and thank everyone in D49 for the collaboration, innovation and friendship.

My next adventure includes serving the Modern Teacher organization that helped us create the Falcon Zone we know today. I look forward to continued interactions with the fantastic people in District 49.

With gratitude,

Sue Holmes,
Falcon Zone Leader