Walking Away

Many of my family members, friends, and contacts know this…I resigned my position as an elementary principal. What’s weird is that I was not unhappy. I enjoy working with the staff, students, and families in our building. We have experienced so much success as an organization. I look forward to coming to work every day.

I am walking away from this position because I have discovered something that I enjoy even more – writing, publishing, creating, speaking, coaching and consulting, and celebrating all that is good in education in general. It just couldn’t exist in my current assignment, as hard as I tried to make it fit. Yes, there’s guilt.

Right now, the market for this type of work is hard to gauge. It may still exist within another school district, as a principal or as a district leader, as long as time is available for scholarship and professional collaboration. I’ve taken multiple interviews with possibilities. My approach in these pursuits has been a balance between following my passions and providing for my family.

Today, one of our family members texted this passage to my wife. She shared it with me, and now I am sharing it with you. I couldn’t find the author. If you know who wrote it, I will gladly credit him or her in this post. It spoke to me. Maybe it will speak to you too.


A staff member congratulated me on following my dreams. I thanked them for their kind words, yet I was a bit confused about how to respond. It’s not that I am following my dreams. To pursue these interests and goals, it’s the only choice I have.

Author: Matt Renwick

Matt Renwick is an 18-year public educator who began as a 5th and 6th-grade teacher in Rudolph, WI. He now serves as an elementary principal for the Mineral Point Unified School District (http://mineralpointschools.org/). Matt also teaches online graduate courses in curriculum design and instructional leadership for the University of Wisconsin-Superior. He tweets @ReadByExample and writes for ASCD (www.ascd.org) and Lead Literacy (www.leadliteracy.com).

21 thoughts on “Walking Away”

  1. I have been enjoying your blog for a long time. I am sure your staff will be sad to see you leave. However, good leaders pave the way for greatness to continue. Your work inspires and enriches many. Onward…


  2. All the best to you, Matt! Appropriate for me to read this now as I seek to find the words to share news of my new position with current students and their families who have had an incredible influence on my life over the past several years.


  3. Matt, I’m really sad to see an educator of your caliber stepping away from a school. We need you! At the same time I’m so excited for the new possibilities for you. I’ve loved following you here and hope that I, we readers and teachers, still can follow you into your new future. My best wishes to you in your new endeavor!


    1. Thank you Lee. I will still be involved in schools, maybe even the principalship, but it will be in a different location and situation. My current school is a good one and deserves a principal who can devote themselves 100% to it. I’ll continue to blog on this site.


  4. Matt!!!! I did the same thing!!!!! I’m so excited for you and for me, too! I learned a lot but I’m ready to do more along the lines of writing, coaching, consulting, and some other larger projects that have been on my heart. I look forward to continued blog posts and hearing more about what you are doing! I continue to use what I learned from Digital Portfolios on a professional level and it is slowly catching on with teachers. I regularly forward your Reading by Example posts to my teachers as well. I’m glad you’ll continue to educate all of us Yea!!! Best wishes to you!


    1. Thanks Beth for commenting. I wish you the best of luck in your searches. It’s very freeing (and a little scary) to be able to pursue our passions. Keep us posted.


  5. I look forward to following your next journey and can’t wait to see how you impact more adults and children. You are the second story I’ve heard in a week where there’s been a calling, something tugging at your heart guiding a new decision. I find this as an example of bravery.


  6. Matt,
    I, too, have appreciated following your blog. Your posts are always interesting and informative, articulate and inspiring. I hope this career change brings you opportunities for growth; I’m sure you will share that with your followers. Your staff, I’m sure, feel a loss… maybe even a little lost. Perhaps your move and leadership has prepared them to step outside their comfort zones to take on changes and leadership opportunities of their own. I don’t think it is ever easy to leave something you enjoy and are successful doing… it takes guts and determination. Cheers to you! Also, my best to your staff, students, and community.


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