Ad-Express and Daily Iowegian, Centerville, IA

December 17, 2013

School superintendent writes to Santa

The Daily Iowegian

---- — Dear Centerville School Patrons,

The month of December is always a very busy month of the year. There is a chatter among the students that is unique to this month. The month also brings a busy schedule for adults. All in all, the environment is exciting.

A few days ago my family and I were having typical conversation at the supper table. During the conversation my youngest child, Delaney, was sharing what she had written to Santa Claus in her letter she created at school. There was a great deal of positive energy within the conversation. Shortly after she had shared what items she listed in the letter to Santa, she turned to me and asked if I had written a letter to Santa. She also was very inquisitive as to what I listed on my gift list. This year, I have decided to share with the public what I have requested of Santa Claus. Below is my letter to Santa.

Dear Santa Claus,

The winter holiday season is always exciting. As you know, every year my family and I decorate for the holidays. This year was no different. As you are well aware, both Mrs. Ryan and I are educators. As we unpacked our festive decorations, the ornaments that were carefully unpacked and hung on the Christmas tree brought back so many wonderful memories. Many of the decorations were gifts from former students that one of us had taught. The shiny bulb from Mitch Bloomquist representing L&M Schools very proudly continues to have a bright shine. Mitch has become a successful businessman calling a larger city home, now. Another decorative gift that was given by Heather Lancaster rests within the other holiday décor throughout our home. As you are aware, Heather’s mother was a student aide in my classroom years ago. Heather was a student of mine, as well. Sandy and Elliot Lancaster now manage a vacation resort out at Rathbun Lake. Talk about a small world! Mrs. Ryan and I stopped at Dogs’ Restaurant to say hello one afternoon. We were not able to connect with Sandy, though. Heather is a successful professional and works in Des Moines. Oh, the memories!!!

This year I have several requests on my list. However, first I want to express to you how much the employees at Centerville Community Schools are appreciated. The bus drivers ensure that students arrive to and from school safely each day. The cooks provide hundreds of healthy meals per day. The facilities are clean and user friendly, thanks to our custodial and maintenance staff. The secretaries ensure the daily business needs of a school facility are met. The teachers, aides, and support staff tend to the very front line responsibilities of educating the next generation. The school environments of our school buildings are orderly and safe because of the strong principals and curriculum director. It is truly a gift for me to work with such a great group. Because of them, we are successful in meeting instructional needs.

For this holiday season, I am asking that second semester is as successful as the first semester. Please help us continue the locomotive strength that the Centerville teachers and staff display on a daily basis. Each and every staff member provides a piece to the strong foundation for the students. Please help ensure that the Five Year State Site Visit provides positive marks of review in late February. I am also requesting that the weather cooperates this winter to ensure consistencies with the delivery of classroom instruction. We cannot afford snow days this year. Also, if you can assist with the state legislative session, please do what you can to support public education.

As you are well aware, a few years back one of my closest friends from high school, Dan Stoffer, and I would help create a festive feeling during the evening of Dec. 24 for the families of young children living in our neighborhood. This was one of the activities we would participate in together while home from college during winter break. We did this to assist with your annual tasks on this night. This year, I am asking that you take a few extra minutes in my friend’s home. Over the last twelve months his preschool age son had been challenged by some health events that required pretty serious surgery. Although his son’s health is much improved, please take a few extra minutes on their holiday gift list. Dan’s family lives in Minneapolis, Minn.

As with every year, I wish you successful travel this Dec. 24.

Your friend,

Tony Ryan

Centerville patrons, a simple conversation with my youngest daughter about a letter to Santa inspired me to take a step back and reflect. Mrs. Ryan and I wish each of you a festive winter holiday season. Make the best of the final two weeks of 2013, and be safe during the New Year.

Yours in Education,

Anthony P. Ryan

Superintendent of Schools