Leave Your Mark


Morning session at Sugarloaf

Patti Kinney

Patti Kinney’s keynote kicked off the MAMLE conference with her presentation called Leave Your Mark. What legacy do you want to leave as a middle level educator? What educators do everyday in the lives of students makes an impression and has the potential to make an impact.

  • It takes courage – courage derived from French word coeur which means “heart”. Risk takers and living a life of courage

What does it take to leave a legacy?

  • Shared vision – Yogi Berra said “If you don’t know where you are going, you will wind up somewhere else.”
  • Serving each student – look at the individual student and have high expectations and work to help them succeed
  • Communicating effectively – George Bernard Shaw said “The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” C.A.R.E.S. – Communication, Appreciation, Respect, Encouragement, Student-centered “Crustaceans are at their most vulnerable when they are between shells.”

At one point Patti asked middle school leaders what we have learned from middle lessons from the past and the consensus was that we need to focus on both – academic and personal growth.

  • Modeling personal growth/learning
  • Advocating for middle level education – what are you doing to get the word out about middle level education for all students

The parable of the pencil –

  • Capable of many great things but only if you allow yours to be held by someone. (Whose are you holding and who do you let hold yours?)
  • Pencils have the ability to let the mistakes made be erased. (Do you acknowledge the mistakes that you make with your students?)
  • The most important part of you is inside. (Kids are like a box of Cracker Jax – they all have a prize inside.)
  • You will experience a painful sharpening once in a while but it is needed to become a better person. (The only thing that we have control over is how we respond.)
  • On every surface where used, it leaves a mark. (What mark will you leave?)

If the world would end in December, what type of legacy are you leaving behind?

Patti is the Associate Director of Middle Level services for NASSP. Formerly she served as a music teacher, middle level classroom teacher, assistant principal and principal.


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