The Oregon Education Investment Board (OEIB) is chaired by Governor Kate Brown and was created in 2011 to oversee an effort to build a unified system for investing in and delivering public education from birth to college & career. We envision a system that links all segments of the educational experience together to ensure each student is poised for a promising future.
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Recently I was asked to speak at a Rotary District conference with the theme: Ordinary People Doing Extraordinary Things. In preparing for the presentation I reflected on the role I play as Oregon’s Chief Education Officer and the opportunity that affords me to see some of the “extraordinary” all throughout our state. I believe that one of my core responsibilities as Chief Education Officer is to build the kind of seamless educational system that positions thousands of educators and community leaders to come together in extraordinary ways to help ensure our students succeed.
Taking something from the ordinary to the extraordinary is something I think about a lot, especially when I consider the profound untapped potential of many of our students.
I know that the more “extraordinary” we can collectively help to catalyze in child care centers, schools, colleges, universities and communities across the state, the better opportunities our students will have for their future.
When we consider the transformation needed in our education systems and beyond, it is easy to think that “extraordinary” is simply too far beyond reach. It is easy to instead, settle for something that feels more attainable like “good” or even “great.”
Author John Maxwell talks about the distance between ordinary and extraordinary being shorter than we think. Five letters separate ordinary and extraordinary. The five letters are “extra” which means: just a little bit more. We often perceive the gap as being too wide, when the reality is that slightest of margins separate the two.
Think of a sprinter. The difference between ordinary (coming in second place for example) and extraordinary (winning the race) is often a fraction of a second. That distance could be the equivalent of a foot of one sprinter getting out in front of the runner behind. It could be the difference of a big toe getting over the line before the one behind it.
Oregon’s vision for creating boundless opportunities for each of our students is long-term, a goal spanning until 2025. Just imagine the possibility for our students if we all come together to put the “extra” in extraordinary between now and then.
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