Leader of our fearless ark.
You’ve guided us through a three-inch binder of Head Start despair, Only to come out the other end with a bit more grey hair.
When we were facing cuts and more than one economic downturn, You inspired us to do our best thinking and to quickly learn.
I will forever remember those first few formative years, While working together and facing our personal fears – Of failure or success,
That only working as a team could address.
We became more than a group of leaders,
We became the stuff that inspires a generation of readers.
You were never too shy to share the good or the bad,
Every so often we’d be relegated to thinking “Oh not again Dad”. Truthfully, you lead us with all of your heart, passion and soul, That no one could deny your leadership role.
You even took a chance on hiring me,
Sight unseen and naive of what might be.
But we had a chance to prove to each other,
That trust, vulnerability and belief in one another,
Can lead to great things like a building or two,
Or launching new programs that we would never have guessed – me or you.
I have appreciated your kind words of support and wisdom over the years,
That thinking of you leaving, brings sniffles, sobs and tears.
But knowing deep down that you live and breathe justice for all, Is solace to know that you would never let any of us fall.
While we sometimes wondered what you wanted from us, we owe you a great debt of gratitude
For giving us the room and the latitude
To do what is best for our families and communities,
And to do that with your blessing, support and sometimes profanities. From the young to the old,
You made sure they were all included in our fold.
When you look back I hope you are proud,
Of the accomplishments and lives affected – each represented by those in this crowd. Our founding mothers would be moved by what you have done,
Especially to know that you always work in the phrase “Tikkun Olum”
Your impact in the hundreds, in the thousands have left an indelible mark,
I just have to say how grateful I am, how grateful we are, to have been on your ark.
Thank you Mark.