Retiring educator ‘got lucky’ 26 years ago

Dear Ramona Families, OPMS Ex-Students, Current Students, and RUSD Teammates!

The Ramona  Sentinel Team has kindly allowed me to publish this “letter” to all of you. I have had the most amazing, wonderful career in education for 44 years, and the last 26 years serving families in Ramona Unified School District. My time in Ramona as a teacher, assistant principal and principal at Olive Peirce Middle School — The Greatest Middle School In The Inner Planetary Galactic Solar System — has been the most rewarding and memorable time of my career — my life!

I’ve had the incredible good fortune to do what I love, build a career around what I love, work with talented educators, and get paid to enact and enjoy my passions. It really doesn’t get any better than that in life. Thank you, Ramona and RUSD! It has been a pleasure and honor to work with you and your children, and those of you who have become parents of OPMS scholars and teachers in our district and around the world.

Educators are a special “breed” of folks. They have a deeply rooted belief they can make a difference, influence lives, and leave a legacy that will affect young scholars forever. Few people decide to make education a career because of money. People who choose education as a career path are people who want to make a contribution and a difference — do something GOOD! RUSD has a wealth of those types of educators. You are a very fortunate community.

The OPMS Team is a rare group of committed middle school educators/leaders/classified staff who will serve your children for many years to come. My administrative partner, Barbara Boryla, and the Wonder Women Team of Karen Neuffer, Vicki Miller, Janet Pickle, Kathy Savage, and Raquel Flores are the BEST in the business.  They ALL could present a workshop on PLCs (professional learning communities).

Pauline Leavitt, my BFF, will be an outstanding leader for OPMS! I can’t imagine anyone BUT Pauline leading OP further, and successfully, into the 21st century. Again, you are fortunate.

I GOT LUCKY! I found Ramona in 1987. I’ve had  the opportunity to teach at OPMS and eventually lead at OPMS.  Ramona, you have one of the best middle schools in California, and it flourishes because of the dedicated and talented OPMS Team, and all of our  elementary partners and their commitment to success for all our young scholars. The RUSD Team is truly an amazing team. Again, you are fortunate.

My husband, Jesse, who retired after 25 years in the Navy, (and is now working at Grand Canyon University as the “military education officer”) and I are moving back to our family roots in the Hill Country of Texas to enjoy being closer to our families, and our grandchildren. We own a condo in Rosarito Beach and will be coming back often to enjoy the great SoCal weather, and the good friends we’ve made since the Navy stationed us here in 1987.

I am a “military brat and wife,” and I have lived all over the world, but I have lived in San Diego longer than I have lived anywhere in my life. The years here in San Diego, and with all of you in Ramona, have been the BEST YEARS!! We reared our son here, and both of us had successful careers here. It will be very hard to put San Diego and Ramona in our “rear-view” mirrors, and drive out of town on I-8 headed east on June 30. I will miss you all so very much.

Thank you, Ramona. Thank you for your partnership with us at OPMS! I have LOVED my work, your community, and your children — and my involvement with your families. l will take many wonderful memories with me. I could not have retired without telling you how I feel about all of you in this close-knit community!

Allow me to digress for a moment, and tell you a short story that exemplifies what I mean about the joy of working in Ramona. For many years, after the OPMS student lunch, I have gone through the “drive-through” at McDonald’s to get my, almost daily, iced tea. Most of the servers at McDonald’s are ex-students, and nine times out of 10, when I arrive at the outdoor speaker, I hear, “An iced tea, Mrs. Solis?” I don’t even have to order! Now, that’s customer service!

Relationships are everything. That’s what I love about Ramona.

I’ve also had the good fortune to work with talented, committed and extraordinary administrators, board members, and PTSA teams. A Successful School District Team is made up of the individuals who work hard to support their own schools, departments, children and the district as a whole — the power of many working As one. THAT’S Ramona!

And to “past students,” congratulations on your  many accomplishments!! Jaime King, OPMS English teacher, and Cori McDonald, RHS math teacher, are both RUSD graduates and young women I had the pleasure of being their English teacher when they were young OPMS scholars. They both “came home” to contribute to Ramona’s outstanding education team. Tony Newman was one of my early “hires” and he became an instant Leader for OPMS and RHS, and will now successfully lead RUSD as Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources for RUSD. Again, You are fortunate.

To current OPMS scholars, YOU ARE THE BEST! You’ve “made My day” EVERY Day for 180 days, “caught in the middle!” I love  you bunches and I will miss you, and I know you are destined for great things at RHS and beyond.

If you’re ever in Texas…give me a shout! “Ya’ll” will always be welcome!

Thank You, Ramona! I have LOVED being YOUR Middle School Principal and part of your community for the last 26 years! Pauline Leavitt and  the OPMS  Team will lead you and your children successfully for the next many years! That’s the “OPMS Ramona Brand!”

With Love and Gratitude,

Linda Solis

Proud Principal of OPMS for a Very Long Time!

Hook ‘Em Horns!

(Jake Newman, Marco Cobian and Cole Sandhofer, try to be gentle in your thoughts over the next few years, as the Longhorns win!)

Related posts:

  1. Principals Tennebaum, Solis retiring at end of Ramona school year
  2. League awards Ingrid Forbes Educator of Year finalist honors
  3. Three Ramona teachers receive Educator of the Year honors
  4. Pauline Leavitt to replace Linda Solis as Ramona middle school principal
  5. Co-workers, students, boss agree: McKibbin should be Educator of Year

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Posted by Karen Brainard on Jun 26 2013. Filed under Commentary. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

1 Comment for “Retiring educator ‘got lucky’ 26 years ago”

  1. Brian Jarvis

    Thank you Ma'am!

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