I know we've leaned a lot more on other communication tools in the last while, but it felt as though news like this should hit the blog. I'll try to share in a trickle; the challenging thing about communicating big news is that it may take us months to process, and only moments for it to hit you.
Over the last few months, we've been praying a lot about our future. We first spoke with you about coming to BFA in fall of 2012, and made the move in August 2013. At that time, we planned for two or more years. We were open to long-term service, but wanted to be realistic about entering into an adventure like this. In the spring of 2014, I went from Communications Designer to accepting a post as Director of Advancement, and we re-upped our commitment in fairness to this new position. In January 2016, when I started as the Associate Head of School, we did the same thing, saying that three years would be a good minimum expectation. That, the summer of 2019, was our "wait and see" marker.
It took me a couple of months to actually say yes to the Associate Head role, and during that time I wondered aloud to Christal if taking this position would start the clock on our time in Germany. This may not make immediate sense to everyone, but when you weigh decisions like this in a context like ours, plans for longevity are impacted by a host of other factors that are in many ways out of our control. Up until then, we hadn't considered a real end to our time in Germany, near or far. Now, as we've been thinking ahead to the upcoming school year, we see that indeed it will be our last at BFA. We will finish strong in the 2018-2019 school year, and plan to return to Canada next year, in the summer of 2019.
On the one hand, this is exciting. On the other, this feels way bigger than moving out here did. We've changed, a lot. So has Landmark. We enjoy life here, and as our kids have grown up, we've grown incredibly close as a family. Yes, we miss family and friends, and we miss the prairies. But we're going to miss these friends, who have become like family, and we'll miss these hills and forests. What really locked this in for us is the immeasurable peace we've had in both the decision and the timing. We moved out here when things were good, and we're moving back when things are good. That's something to be thankful for as well.
Here are some great things about the timing. First, we have a lot of "lasts" to experience, and this gives us a great opportunity to do so with our kids, who are old enough to process what's happening. Second, I will be able to help a new Head of School transition into BFA, and work closely with our community in the coming year. Third, I have time to work on finishing well and transitioning well. I'm well aware of how surprises can come up, but in the same vein of intentionality that has served us well over these last 5 years, I will lean on intentionality and purposeful care in this last 6th year. Fourth, I know how valuable it is to give lots of notice in a place like this. I've worked closely with our HR office, and one of the "silent" forms of service that has a big impact is giving ample notice of departure. This is the time of year when we ask people about their intentions for the 2019-2020 school year, and I'm thankful that we're able to share this well enough out to allow for appropriate planning. Of course, that's not always possible, but it's just another of the great things about timing.
We have so much ahead of us in the next year and a half, but in fairness to the school, our mission agency, our supporters, and our family and friends, it's appropriate to make this decision and share it now. We'll have more detailed conversations with folks in due time, regarding some of the elements of this transition. Until then, it's life as usual here in the Black Forest! :)