A Message From Dr. Bell  

April 09, 2015
Well, it looks like I missed the call in March. Not only were my NCAA basketball championship brackets pathetic, there were also no spring blizzards during the Nebraska high school basketball tournaments. I guess I had better leave all prognostications to the professionals.

Fortunately at the apex of my failures, I had the opportunity to listen to two excellent keynote speakers at the Nebraska Rural Community Spring Conference who lifted my spirits and spurred me on to new heights.

Clayton Anderson, the successful astronaut with Nebraska roots, got me soaring. His enthusiasm is irrepressible and his message extremely uplifting. His story of trying for 15 years to get on a flight as an astronaut was a testament to perseverance in fulfilling a childhood dream. His efforts resulted in a 152 day adventure aboard the International Space Station and his final 15 day mission aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery. The entertaining story of perseverance, patience, and faith by this “ordinary spaceman” encourages an “ordinary administrator” to strive for continued excellence and to serve as a teammate at ESU 10 to better “partner with our customers to meet changing needs through professional expertise, training, and support.”

Speaking of being a teammate, Dr. Tom Osborne, who started TeamMates in Nebraska with his wife, Nancy, gave another insightful talk about using leadership to create culture. It is so difficult, yet so essential to work for the good of all in an organization. How each person is treated affects everyone. It was good to be reminded that we need balance in our lives. He contended that purpose and meaning comes from giving to others. I think that is why teachers are so successful. Dr. Osborne also insisted that we must learn from our failures and focus on what is significant to us. That makes a difference not only to us but all who we influence. I view Tom Osborne as a Nebraska Treasure and will always value his words and deeds.

I try not to bother Dr. Tom, but I did catch him one day when he was at ESU 10 and asked him to sign my Wheaties box that honored his era of excellence. His first question was whether or not the box was still filled with cereal. Then he asked what side of the box I wanted him to sign. I, of course, asked him to sign the side where he looked best. He promptly told me that was easy and signed both sides. I enjoy his quiet sense of humor.

It is always good to have new learning opportunities to do as Mr. Covey categorized as sharpening the saw. Here’s hoping we all have the end in mind to make this another successful and satisfying year.