From Curtis Finch Jr., PhD
Every four years, the Deer Valley Unified School District (DVUSD) gathers as a family, all 4,200 employees in one spot, right before the new school year begins. This year’s location was in the Grand Canyon University (GCU) indoor arena, the home of the Lopes. The event was centered on finding “purpose” to each of our jobs so that each employee can positively impact our schools & community.
As Superintendent, I had a couple of minutes with the staff to talk about this concept and encourage employees to find purpose in their job. The best example in my life was my parents, Curt & Jan Finch – one worked in maintenance for 25 years and the other as a bus driver for 20 years, both in my hometown school district. My father had a big impact on me as I witnessed what purpose looks like in action every day, at home and school.
My father passed away unexpectedly at 64 years old, too early for anyone. At his funeral, some of the less fortunate and “invisible” students and staff members shared the impact my father had on them. My dad was kind, caring, and always interested in each of their lives, checking in frequently on how they were doing in school, interests, their pets, etc. Curt Finch Sr. had a purpose - always encouraging the “invisible” person no one else saw.
Steven Covey wrote in his book, Trust & Inspire, “Purpose can turn a job into a calling.” There is some advice that I tell all who ask me when they are struggling with finding purpose: “If you can’t find your purpose, look for ways to serve others and your purpose will appear.” I’ve been giving this advice for over twenty years and it hasn’t failed me yet.
The DVSUD Rally was another chance to celebrate many of DVUSD’s successes. The year-long Strategic Plan process with the community, parents, and staff helped give DVUSD a specific path to greatness (www.dvusd.org/strategicplan) and also produced the “Portrait of a Graduate.” This document outlines the skills and qualities DVUSD graduates will possess after learning and growing in our district. DVUSD also celebrated 92% of our 41 schools being A or B-rated by the State and our excellent ranking against the state and our peer-like school districts in academics, finance, administration percentage, and student/teacher ratio. DVUSD is in the top three in every category.
DVUSD honored our national designation as a model “Professional Learning Community” and over 50% of its schools being categorized as “A+ School of Excellence” institutions. DVUSD is currently recognized by Forbes as the Best Public School District Midsize Employer in the nation - two years in a row! When you have this much to celebrate, the DVUSD family needs to get together and rejoice!
We are having success because every DVUSD employee is working towards amplifying their purpose – to help DVSUD graduate lifelong learners who will successfully compete, lead, and positively impact the world; to learn more, go to www.dvusd.org.