A Tribute to Two Hundred

Regular readers of the TIE blog will no doubt recognize Dan Kerr’s name. He has been sharing his thoughts and reflections about life and education for seven years, and just wrote his 200th post this week. That is quite an accomplishment for anyone, let alone someone also balancing a job as principal and roles as a husband and father.

Dan’s voice and optimism are apparent in his writing. However, those who know him on a personal and professional level can attest that this voice is not added in for the benefit of the blog–it is completely, one hundred percent Dan Kerr.

In a profession where we often don’t get the recognition that we deserve or require, it’s easy to get bogged down and think negative thoughts. Enter Dan Kerr…the guy who always seems to see the glass as half-full, no matter what. He seeks meaning and lessons in the little things, and turns even the most difficult trials into positive learning opportunities. Those who have worked with Dan have witnessed this positive attitude and infectious enthusiasm day in and day out.

Dan’s 200th post was written and uploaded to the TIE blog just a few days ago. In it, he admits to “being so nervous when I hit send on my first blog post” and that he feels compelled to express his thoughts because, “We all have so much to share, and so much to say, and it’s not okay to keep it all to ourselves.” I couldn’t agree more. It is because we have so much to share that I decided to seek out some of the countless educators who have been impacted by Dan Kerr’s optimism, enthusiasm, and inspiration over the years. Whether reaching them as a blogger, colleague, lecturer or administrator, Dan no doubt leaves his mark on those he encounters. And so, in honor of his milestone post this week, here are some stories and anecdotes from those who have had the pleasure working and learning alongside a man several have referred to as “a legend”.

Dan Kerr is a true professional in every sense of the word. He strives to learn, grow, and reflect, and he inspires others with his thoughts and words of wisdom. This often leads to positive changes in their own level of professionalism. His work teaching Masters courses in Madrid made a lasting impact on Lee Parker, who said that Dan “did his homework before I arrived and knew of me due to JIS contacts. He has helped me with CVs, interviews etc. (feedback), and I am now at my dream school. As a lecturer, he was super positive and inspirational. I really enjoyed his course.”

Fellow TIE blogger Frederic Bordaguibel-Labayle recalls a specific experience with Dan that changed the trajectory of his professional life. “On October 14th, 2015, during a Teachers Teaching Teachers session, Dan ran a presentation called Setting Yourself Up for Success. It was about getting ready to go and find a new job in a different school. It was an inspiring session, and I still remember it. Dan developed several points and the first one, personal and professional websites, is the one that stuck with me. Back then, having a website and using it to get one’s voice out there was a foreign concept to me. For a while, I even thought that I was probably missing on something, but I felt that having a website and blogging was not for me. But still, I highly respect Dan, and I wrestled with this idea. I eventually invited Dan over at home to discuss this further, and he changed my mind. Thanks to Dan, I started a website and a blog, I write a new post once or twice a month, and my voice is now also shared through TIE.”

Those who have had Dan Kerr as an administrator have nothing but positive things to share about their experiences. Jeff Lindstrom claims that, “One of the hardest things I ever did was when I had to choose to teach in the high school over the middle school at SCIS, since that meant that Dan was no longer my principal. The next year he went to bat for me and quickly helped me get an interview with a former colleague, and I know his reference really helped me secure the position. He is just awesome in every way, and I would work for him again, even in a crappy school, without hesitation.”

Dani DiPietro has worked at nine schools over the years and firmly states that, “Dan, by far, has been the kindest, most organized, caring administrator I have had the pleasure of working with.” She goes on to say that Dan “is supportive as an administrator, and I always felt that he ‘had my back’ with kids and their parents. We would always discuss situations to make sure all sides were heard, but it was nice to know someone supported you and what happened in most cases, unquestioningly.”

When Dan worked at Academia Cotopaxi in Ecuador, his office neighbored that of Paola Torres de Pereira, who was then the early childhood principal. She shared that Dan “graciously played along” for the Pete the Cat-themed Halloween costume, and that children still ask about him regularly. In thinking about Dan’s written contributions to the world of education, she says, “Mondays…of course Dan Kerr’s ‘musings’ had to be on that day. Around the world, educators get out of bed, get inspired, laugh, cry, ponder. Mondays are brightened, and his contagious attitude reaches thousands to help them through a week of many stories. I met Dan about 100 ‘musings’ ago at a PTC course, had the privilege of working with him for three years, and have been strengthened by his friendship and positivity, like so many others probably have been.”

Quite possibly what stands out the most about Dan Kerr is his genuine interest in others. “Dan’s smile when he met you the first time carried on throughout. He is warm, interested in you as a person and a teacher. Dan is awesome at making his staff feel valued and can laugh at himself,” remarked Lis Wilson, who worked with Dan in Shanghai.

Dani DiPietro added, “His interpersonal relationships with both adults and students is legendary. Not many administrators learn all of their students’ and all of the other students’ names in the entire school, to greet them in person every morning. I think that was the telling factor for me that I was working with a genuine, one-of-a-kind individual. He always asks about you, how you are, and how your family is, and seems to always have his finger on the pulse of each person he knows and works with. It is mind-boggling. ”

Gretchen Paul, who currently works with Dan at the American School of Paris, has only known him for two months. Still, her impressions mirror those who have known him much longer. “Dan is professional, knowledgeable and enthusiastic about education. What sets him apart from other educators are his passion for human relationships and his desire to be a lifelong learner. More than any other administrator, Dan greets adults and children in the morning with genuine enthusiasm for each hello. The children at our school look forward to seeing Dan each and every day and he appreciates each individual for who they are: asking about soccer matches and playdates. Dan invariably sees the best in each child! Dan is inspiring to work with and he makes everyone around him want to be their very best. I consider myself lucky to learn from him!”

Dan, from all of us to you…congratulations, and thank you. Thank you for inspiring us, teaching us, and lifting us up. Thank you for taking the risks, making yourself vulnerable, and “putting yourself out there”, two hundred times and counting.

 

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10 Responses to A Tribute to Two Hundred

  1. Dan is an eternal optimist and an incredibly kind and thoughtful individual. We can always benefit from more optimism and kindness. Thank you, Dan, for making such a positive difference in our lives.

  2. Helen He says:

    I was fortunate to have worked with Dan for four years. I can say for sure that Dan is the most positive, encouraging, passionate and inspiring leaders I have ever worked with in my 20+ years of teaching. He started to write Monday Musings while working at SCIS and I remember that I always looked forward to reading them Sunday afternoon or evening even though they were intended to be read on Mondays. After Dan left our school, I didn’t want to delete all the Monday Musings, so I created a special folder for them and have kept it in my computer. I just retrieved his first Monday Musings, which was written on 22 August 2010. Wow, it has been over 7 years and Dan is still writing. Congratulations Dan! I suggest you make this into a book and no doubt it will become a best seller in the education world.

  3. Barbara Tanjala says:

    I add my voice to those who recognize and appreciate Dan’s passion, empathy, compassion, humor, dedication. optimism, and relentless smile. His joyful spirit and enthusiasm are infectious. Through them he empowers all around him – students, teachers, administrators, cleaners – everyone. Cannot wait for the crazy crew to regroup! Congratulations, Dan. You are a most deserving humane being (no typo there) and I count it among my blessings to know you.

  4. Sandy and Terry Kerr says:

    What a great tribute to our son Dan. We have been blessed with his wonderful personality from day one and have continually rejoiced in his many accomplishments, but it is such a gift to see that so many others have been impacted by his presence in their lives. Proud parents!

  5. maureen says:

    I’m an awfully proud sister in PEI…. Congratulations, Dan! What a wonderful tribute and so well deserved. I can imagine it was no easy feat to write 200 blog posts and admire your dedication. Great things happen when you write and put it out into the world <3

  6. Jane MacPhail says:

    It is so good to see that others have had the pleasure of working with Dan. He is such an inspiration for the joy he shares in teaching and learning. I worked with him at Pattimura Elementary School ( part of JIS ,Indonesia) Thank you Dan for starting those delightful Friday morning, “StandUp” sessions! I also loved reading your “Monday Musings” and hope to hear more about what you and your team are creating in Paris!

  7. Joni Kerr says:

    Way to go Dan! Congratulations on your 200th post! I have never had the opportunity to work with you, but do know you ‘virtually’ through social media and in person through various professional meet-ups. It would be an honor to work with you some day!

  8. Dianne Watt says:

    I would agree with all of this and add that my favourite character trait of Dan’s is the empathy he shows towards students. He remembers himself at that age and encourages students in all their middle school awkwardness to try new things and learn who they really are. He urges them to become passionate about something and follow that passion to see where it leads them. This year I will watch some of those angsty middle schoolers graduate and can see that they are all very passionate about many different things. This can be traced back to a 5th grade graduation speech made by Dan. I wish I had been given the same guidance and support at that age.

  9. Dominic St-Pierre says:

    Dan is one of the reasons I am teaching internationally and I’m so thankful for his mentorship when I was a beginning teacher.

  10. I’ve known Dan from early in his educational career. As a teacher, he brought joy and passion every day to his students, and was a fun, bright presence at Pattimura, JIS. Congratulations for being you, Dan—true to yourself and dedicated to bringing the best experiences possible to your learners.

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