Today is the last day you’ll see a post from me in The Seattle Times editorial page’s Opinion Northwest blog. Monday’s edition of the Times will publish my final byline as a columnist. I could have easily and happily stayed here within the confines of 1000 Denny Way, mining the deep pockets of education policy and chronicling the alchemy of teaching and learning. Journalism is a powerful public service and I’ve been lucky to share this calling and platform. From United Press International to The Washington Post, The Seattle Post-Intelligencer and The Seattle Times, I have worked hard in this profession and been rewarded with great opportunities. As I note in my upcoming and final column, I will miss readers the most. You could have been doing anything else with your time, but you read my writing and you were generous with your thoughts.
But let me bury the lede no longer. Next month, I start a new career as associate vice president for public affairs at Washington State University. Go Cougs! The icing on the cake? I am not uprooting my husband and son. I’ll work out of the WSU-Seattle office. So yes, I’ll still be in the public education arena but away from the daily deadlines and constraints that impede a more strategic approach. “People are like bicycles. They can keep their balance only as long as they keep moving, ” Albert Einstein told his son in a 1930 letter. And so I’m moving. I’ve never wanted to be one of those people aging in place; you know, return in 5 years and they’re doing, and saying, the same things. I crave change as much as I enjoy security.
Years back, headed off for a year-long academic fellowship at Stanford University, I found inspiration from the poet, Maria Rainer Rilke about the need to change up every so often:
“For here there is no place/that does not see you. You must change your life.”
And so I am. The conversation is not over, it is merely moving to a different arena. My public service is not done, it is shifting and narrowing its focus. You can find me at email@example.com or on Twitter @lkvarner. For Rilke fans, find the rest of Archaic Torso of Apollo here.