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.