Small World

Shepherding my grandsons around I forgot to check my calendar this morning. No problem. Memorial Blood Bank called to ask why I was late for my 92nd pint contribution. They told me it was OK if I showed up half an hour late. I hurried over and saw that someone had just signed in five minutes before I arrived before being handed the new form about iron deficiency.

I was hustled through the Q and A and blood pressure test and when I sat down to share myself I saw that the 10:30 donation was Deanna Gronseth, the Superintendent’s better half. We greeted each other and I joked about how it had been “long time no see.” She had, in fact, been one of the fourteen teachers at the Tuesday candidate screening committee.

Deanna has both feet in public education. She is a member of the Hermantown School Board and like Sarah Dixon, the wife of her husband’s mentor, she has an office just a stone’s throw from the Superintendent on the second floor of Old Central. She’s been sitting through a lot of our recent school board meetings this year so I shouldn’t have been surprised to see her at the Screening.

Her’s was one of the last small groups that I had my four minute session with and as I recall I was asked about the evaluation of employees. I told Deanna that I believed a healthy school system would treat its staff with respect and give them the freedom to experiment and make mistakes. I repeated the mantra about students learning from their mistakes a couple times that evening and I believe the same goes for our employees. I said that staff who were worried about being blamed and who refused to stretch to their limit would be unlikely to become very successful. Looking over one’s back makes forward thinking difficult.

I teased Deanna at the blood bank that if she hadn’t had a head start I’d have raced her to finish my donation first. When she ducked out into the rainy day I was holding my arm up compressing my inner elbow and being asked what color bandage I wanted. It looked like I was waving to her. I chose red.