DR. CHRISTINA KISHIMOTO | AUGUST 2022
What a great newsletter I have for you this month! As many of you are wrapping up your summer vacations and preparing for the kickoff of the new 2022-23 school year, there is so much to talk about. The world around us can feel a little insane as the political tensions around matters that cut to the heart of civil rights disrupt our sense of belonging. But, there is power in reflection, and this is a good time to find space to reflect on where you’ve been, where you are, and where you want to go. While it can feel at times like so much happens that is beyond our control, remember that you have so much power to do good for and with others, that is within your sphere of influence and control. So take yourself there as a new school year begins!
One year ago, on July 31, 2021 I stepped down as State Superintendent of the great state of Hawaii, and the next day I intentionally took a flight across the country. This marked the end of a decade of work serving at the Superintendent level across three states and three wonderful communities. I made the decision to take my own often-shared-advice, and took a month off for myself, by myself. It was amazing! At first, it felt a little scary to step out of such a significant public position and into the unknown. I was not exactly sure what was next, but I felt a calling to use my three decades of leadership and policy experience to focus on empowering the next generation of women leaders. But I was exhausted from the pandemic, and didn’t have the mental bandwidth to immediately jump into designing a new company. Rather than worry about what was next, I took the entire month of August to enjoy the simple beauty of just being. I wanted to disconnect with the politicized madness of the pandemic and reconnect with being fully present in the beauty of life.
“But, there is power in reflection, and this is a good time to find space to reflect on where you’ve been, where you are, and where you want to go.”
— Tiana Hill
I spent a month in Roanoke Island in North Carolina, biking, walking, cooking local seafood, exploring downtown Manteo, reading on the deck, and watching the sunset at the edge of the Roanoke Sound. My soul was restored! It was like going from seeing in black and white to seeing once again in full color!
Here’s the important lesson. The work and the opportunities were still there after taking time for myself. In fact, I could see more clearly what I should choose to engage in and what distracting busy work I could let go of.
I share this because too often I see women jumping from one leadership position to another without taking time off for themselves. There are so many thankless demands on women. Women in particular fear missed opportunities because this is what we are often told.
This is why I am so excited that The Stories We Tell will now include a monthly health and wellness feature by fitness expert Tiana Hill. We begin with a Q&A feature with Greenfield Unified School Superintendent Zandra Jo Galván, who frequently shares her fitness mindset and workout routines on Twitter. Voice4Equity has also partnered with Wellness for Educators and the Redlands University Center for Educational Justice to bring you an Equity Wellness Summit coming November 2-4th.
Also in line with the kickoff of the new school year, we are focusing on early childhood access, a long standing equity policy matter with mixed results across our States. Alabama though has walked the talk, and there is much to learn from them. I am so excited to feature Alabama’s Secretary of Early Childhood, Dr. Barbara Cooper as our August Voice for Equity! You will not want to miss her interview on our new Voice4Equity YouTube channel.
Enjoy this issue and be well!