Our own relationship started over the phone with a brief introduction. We met a couple of months later and in January of 2019 we became colleagues. As I adjusted to a new role, you received frequent visits from me. Sometimes they were efforts to talk out a problem. Other times, it was just to share, and still others, a moment of reassurance. As our time together grew in length, we learned more about each other and the depth of the relationship grew.
As with all relationships, time revealed what was important to you. Throughout our time, a consistent principle was evident, grace. Whether having a conversation with a rambunctious 1st grader or sitting down with an obstinate middle school student, you have had a way of getting to the bottom of the problem and encouraging even the youngest to reconsider their behavior.
While significant, defining you based on a period of twenty-plus months is unreasonable. I have struggled in trying to write in a way that would recognize your tenure and its impact. I have found myself asking how do we adequately recognize a life purpose that drove a career for 45 years let alone honor the impact of that career on an institution and its stakeholders. I am not convinced that there is an adequate way to do this. What comes to mind in attempting this task is an effort to frame the legacy that you clearly leave behind in Cresset’s substantive history.
Founded in the 1970’s, in its second year Cresset had a staff of nine serving 117 students. A decade later, it was a school of 300 with a new gym and the start of traditions such as Homecoming and high school banquets. While one could focus on numbers because they do tell a story, there is clearly more. Stories of community abound. Lower school students waiting under the canopy to be picked up, parents walking their children into lower school, parents stopping to chat with each other, or stopping staff in the hallways to discuss matters of faith and life. They never felt judged or rushed, even after the bell rang indicating the start of the day. Why? Because the hands that held it never judged or presumed.
From stories of community, the foundation of Cresset and your importance to it became clear. Its core values were embodied in your daily actions, and these actions imbued the community of Cresset with a sense of security and purpose. This foundation is your legacy. You, in some senses, are the embodiment of Cresset and Cresset is the embodiment of what you hold dear. Rather than try and speak anything more, please know that you have represented Christ well. He is part of the fabric of who we are as a community. We will carry this legacy forward because you have given us that opportunity. From a community that adores you, please accept our adoration and gratefulness.