There are plenty of jobs I’ve had to do this year as a principal that seem a little outside the “norm.” We often refer to these things as “other duties as required.” It’s a joking reference to a line in our contracts that doesn’t really exist…but it should!

My “other duty as required,” along with Mr. Berger, was shoveling snow during our week of snow days. There is something simple and soothing about shoveling snow:  your progress is evident and the simple physical labour lets your mind wander. It also doesn’t hurt that we only do it for 3-5 days a year!

So, as I shoveled snow in anticipation of the returning students, I thought I’d share some of my wanderings with you.

The Last Time?

Part way through my shoveling I became really excited…It hit me that I was shoveling our future learning commons. No more shoveling this pathway next year!

The simple task of shoveling snow allowed me to reflect on the exciting changes at ACS that lie before us and God’s faithfulness to us through it all. In the stillness, along with the steady scrape of the snow shovel, I not only just focused on the day-to-day, but looked ahead to what will be and I’m excited!


One of the things I love about ACS is that we’re never alone. The work we do is often difficult but also immensely rewarding and usually in the context of community, with staff, students and parents.

Shoveling snow was no different.

I admit I was a little late to the shoveling party (I had a breakfast meeting!); Mr. Berger was shoveling snow for quite some time by the time I arrived. After a bit of heckling from Mr. Berger for being so late, we both got into the groove and set to work.

It’s representative of how we do things here at ACS. We have a little fun, maybe give each other a hard time, but when push comes to shove, we serve our community alongside each other. There’s a deep comfort in knowing we don’t do this work alone. We do it in the context of community and with a lot of prayer.

Change of Pace

This series of snow days was my first as principal. Up at 5:30 am in my cold, dark home office huddled over my iPhone and my computer trying to make sense of five different weather forecasts…sigh. Many of us try to get things accomplished despite the snow day, but there are moments you get to carve out with family.

There is something magical about a snow day.

Big “fancy” breakfasts, hot chocolate and cinnamon buns after a day of sledding, night sledding with glow sticks, building snowmen, and of course, shoveling snow. Despite the stress and challenges of missing multiple days of school, I reflected with gratitude on the memories I was able to make with my daughters that week.

The Many Paths We Walk

The shortest distance between two points is a straight line. But when you’re trying to shovel a clear path for over 600 students, one straight path just won’t do. Students come from all over the place and have many different places to go.

We ended up shoveling a maze of routes from one place to the next.

Similarly, we all have a path—a vision set out before us, but there are a lot of people walking: students, parents, and staff. Many of us know the path we want to take to get to the destination. Some of them are direct, some of them detour, but we’re all trying to get to the same place.

We are a diverse community with diverse paths, but we are all unified by one faith, one God, and a common mission to engage minds, nurture hearts, and shape God’s world. The network of interconnected pathways reminds me of this.

Here’s hoping those were the last snow days for this year, but I sure welcomed the change of pace!