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My #OneWord2017: Love

There’s nothing quite like a “first.” The first day of school. A first kiss. The first words on a blank page. Or the first day of a new year. Beginnings hold promise and remind us that every day is a first of sorts.

In this spirit, and inspired by colleagues like Tricia Ebner (read about her one word here) and CTQ’s shift in blogging strategy for 2017, from one-off posts to community powered roundtable conversations, I’m sharing my one word for the year here first: LOVE.

2016 was filled with personal and professional transitions, and at times, turmoil. 2017 promises more transition -- for our world, our nation, our local communities, and my own family -- so I’m holding onto one word that the Beatles once sang is the only thing we need.


I believe love acts as a powerful compass, pulling us toward the people, places, and opportunities we are meant to pursue.

A love of literacy filled my childhood with books and adventures. The support of my family and teachers helped me fall in love first with writing, and eventually with teaching and learning. Love (and empathy) for the awkwardness that characterizes adolescence drew me to teaching middle school. A love for the profession and a passion for public education convinced me to pursue leadership opportunities and connected me to the CTQ community over five years ago.

And love and respect for the CTQ community, including the many educators who comprise it, the passionate staff, and the deep shared commitment to the vision of an equitable public education system that serves all students and their communities, fueled my latest professional transition.

Last September I left a school district I loved. For the last decade, Aurora Public Schools supported my personal and professional growth as an educator and teacher leader. My time there resulted in dozens of relationships -- with students, families, colleagues, and school and district leaders. As my friend and colleague Brianna Crowley so eloquently shared in this post, leaving a profession you love isn’t easy.

I left to work with the CTQ community and staff full time. I left familiar work behind to embrace learning new skills and to explore the nonprofit world. I left one professional family to join another. The transition was made easier knowing I would be loved and supported, coached and mentored along the way, in this new space filled with familiar faces. And I learned that leaving does not mean you stop loving.

I’m looking forward to learning and loving in new ways in 2017.

And I’d love to hear what one word is guiding you in the new year ahead?


1 Comment

Tricia Ebner commented on January 3, 2017 at 7:52pm:

At the center: the heart

Jessica, this really hits at the foundation of what we do. Ultimately, it's above love. When we frame our thinking, choices, and actions around love, we're giving the very best of ourselves. I have no doubt that 2017 will be a year filled with continued learning and growing love for you! 

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