LETTER FROM ED: J.W. CARPENTER

Seven years of Jesuit education is challenging. Even before I arrived on Boston College’s campus, I knew the Jesuit motto, “Men and women for others,” because it’s always front and center. Boston College wants students thinking about its motto, but what they really want is for you to get busy doing something about it. And they are perfectly willing to physically drag you there if necessary, which is what they more or less had to do with me when I was 18. Throughout my time at Boston College, the mission and the message were clear: on your path to the immense opportunities that a college graduate receives, the most important part is the “for others.”

Far be it from me to offer an addendum to what has been a wildly successful creed, but I

JW 3 find that I am at my best when I am serving with others. Our goal is for everything we do at Ed to be designed and executed with our students, their educators, and their family members. Too often, our students, educators, and families have great ideas, but do not get the opportunity to bring them to life because the people who set out to serve aren’t also listening. Instead, things are dropped on their heads that, however well-meaning, do not help.

 

JW 2I find it not only strategic, but joyful to work at a place where we strive to use our ears and mouth in proportion in the service of ensuring our very talented students get what they need. I didn’t start my career by living out this idea as well as I could have. I didn’t reflect on my own privilege enough. I did too much talking and not enough listening. I dropped too many anvils on too many. I still need reminding of that.

JW 5Fortunately, at Ed, I am surrounded by too much talent to mess up for too long. Whether its Ed’s staff and board members, our partners, or the people I work with in the Birmingham City Schools, I am constantly challenged to get better. As that network of talented people grows, we see more great things happening for our kids, and I am fortunate that every day I get to work with them to move us closer to the time when every kid gets a quality education.The future of Birmingham is bright, but we will go only as far as the quality of opportunities our students receive. I thank the Jesuits every day for inspiring me to be a part of making that happen.

 

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