Thursday, November 17, 2011

Holy Crap!!!!

So, it's a bit awkward to write this about myself...but...HOLY CRAP!! I WON THE SUPERINTENDANT'S QUARTERLY AWARD!!! Some of you may not know what this is but believe me, it is a Holy Crap! miracle in the mundane.

I work for Aurora Public Schools and our Superintendant, John Barry, awards people for their work in our district. He sends out an email with a form that people can fill out to nominate someone. I was completely humbled and honored to be nominated by two people and then to be chosen to win!

This is part of the email I got:
We are happy to inform you that Kari Jacobsen-Laniel has been selected to receive the superintendent’s quarterly award as an Aurora Public Schools Licensed Employee, Middle School.
This award is a credit to Kari’s dedication. We all applaud Kari’s commitment to the Aurora Public Schools.
Quarterly Awards recognize outstanding parents, staff and community members who make a difference in the lives of APS students. Superintendent Barry has asked the APS community to be bold, courageous and to have visions of fire as we work to make APS the lead district in Colorado. Clearly, Kari’s commitment and passion for APS is making a difference in the lives of our students.

I am not totally sure what "vision of fire" is or what that exactly means, but I must have it! :)

I was then asked to attend an awards ceremony. There were 12 people who were awarded this quarter. We all sat with our family and friends and listened to accolades and applause for a job well done. The recipients were asked if they wanted to say any words upon winning. I was totally planning on NOT saying anything! But, as peer pressure would have it, all the recipients before me said a few words, so I did too.

My "quick fire" speech included an emotional voice shake where I almost started crying as I said how grateful I am that, even though it was later in life, I found this niche of teaching. I proceeded to (THANKFULLY) get my voice in check and talk about the "it takes a village" philosophy of being an educator. I absolutely could not do this on my own. It takes a village of remarkable people to make this teaching thing work...

If I had been prepared, I think my list of villagers would have been extensive and diverse. I could go back to the influential teachers of my youth, Mrs. Jones, Mrs. Visocky, Mr Rybold, Mrs. Walker-McDowell, Mrs. Lindsay, Mrs. Henry, Mrs. Eaves...

As far as my career roots go, I could recognize a few people from my life in my 20's and early 30's that helped shape me and show me what caring for people really looks like....Chris, Kevin, Bob, Patty, Joe, Lara, Tony, Anthony...

And from my friendships "back then" that are in my "right now" who are the "lifer" villagers that represent the definition of loyal and trustworthy. They have always embraced me for who I am and what I try to do...Shana, Chris, Nancy, Laura, Brenda, Stacey, Jacci, Amber...

I would have given profuse thanks to "my girls"...the one's that showed me that life is meant to be lived and that embracing who we really are is truly freeing...Tina, Steph, Kathy, Lindsay...

And then there's "The Program" crew that showed me what that educators could be creative, funny, amazing, random, embarrassing, smart and fiercely loyal to a nutty profession...Christine, Steve, Katie, Kate, Trish, Maura, Jodi, Kelly, Amanda, Jennifer, Rachel...And my very first teaching stint at South with Deb, Ellen, Maggie and Karen...

My current colleagues that help me daily to keep my sanity and perspective...Hannah, Cheryl, Libby, Val, Morgan, Allison, Emily, Lindsey, Jennifer, Kate, Josh, Mary Lynn, Kandi, Pam, Jess, Kevin...

And of course there’s my family. Oh my family...they are the best family a girl could ever have. My parents have always believed in me and showed me that nothing is impossible. My brothers have supported everything I do and are my biggest cheerleaders. My sister in laws, nephews, cousins, aunts and uncles mean the world to me and I am so grateful for them.

My amazing husband Brian is the heart and soul of this award. He loves me unconditionally and has put up with the very ugly side of teaching...the tears, frustration , drama and shot nerves. He is the epitome of support and I am so truly thankful for him.

I found this career late in my life. I got my teaching license when I was 37 years old and this award feels like it is a culmination of so many questions being answered, sacrifices being made and dreams coming true. I feel like my journey thus far is being marked by this award.

I am probably making a bigger deal about this than I should, but it has given a chance to be reflective and deeply thankful for all the amazing people in my life that helped me be here.


  1. That is truly wonderful, Kari. So proud of you :)

  2. Kari, there isn't a person out there more deserving! I think you should get an award every day because you are just that amazing! I am honored to be your friend and am so appreciative of the impact you've made (and continue to make) in my life. I can only imagine the difference you are making everyday in the lives of the students and other teachers. love you dearly and so happy for you! congratulations! xo

  3. finally catching up on blogs!! i'm so proud of you, kari!!