Every week, EPIC Superintendent Bart Banfield explores topics related to education, learning, leadership and more. Be sure to check back each week for the latest.

Another Reason to Give Thanks

It’s Thanksgiving week and one of my favorite times of the year. Gratitude is an important part of my life and faith. As such, I would be remiss if I didn’t spend at least a few moments reflecting on the things in my life for which I am thankful. Among the obvious things such as family, home and health, I am particularly grateful for my education.

As many of you may know, I am the son of an educator. My father spent 44 years as a basketball coach (also one of my passions) and teacher. In fact, it was my dad who inspired me to become an educator myself. Growing up, it was instilled in me, the value and importance of education, and that no matter what else happens in one’s life, an education can never be taken away. It’s a lesson I have carried with me during my lengthy academic career, and still carry with me to this day. 

In our performance-based society, it’s easy to think that the key to success is more money, a bigger house, a faster car. My truth, however, is that, no matter what happens to my home, my car or my income, my education is a stronghold that can never be breached by the material needs of the modern day. As the old adage goes, “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” 

Education is not something that stops with a graduation ceremony. It’s a lifelong journey. While academic journeys may end, our minds always have the capacity to hold more. William Butler Yeats said, “Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.” As a lifelong learner, I have realized that fire was lit in me.

I will never be done learning. Not only does this impact my personal and professional life, but it also, inadvertently, becomes a model for my children and, hopefully, my coworkers. When they see, like I did with my father, that I am committed to a lifetime of learning and growth, at least some of that is surely to rub off on them. 

As you gather with your family this Thanksgiving, be sure to let them know the value of education and the role it plays in your life. I know I will.


Dare Greatly,