Here is the text of Dr. Paul A. Tisdale's final address to the faculty and staff of Biloxi Public Schools, delivered Thursday, May 19, 2011, during a session in the auditorium at Biloxi Junior High School.
As I stand before you one final time I am reminded of the old adage, "Superintendents never retire, they just lose their faculties." Add to that the reminder of a very close friend who hissed, "Keep it short. You're leaving and no one cares what you think or what you have to say!"
So, before you grow very tired of what I have to say and I lose my faculties, here goes…
Local attorney Ron Peresich noted in his editorial piece for the Sun Herald this past April that "Leadership demands commitment; something greater than ourselves and of value to many."
Commitment requires that we:
--- Identify a goal
--- Lay out a plan
--- Motivate others to share our vision, and
--- Lead by example
And two words should guide you: persistent effort.
In retrospect this is what I have done, or tried to do.
President Calvin Coolidge noted that, "Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan 'press on' has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race."
YOU have collectively achieved unprecedented success in the years following the greatest natural disaster to befall our community… in an age of educational accountability that is unparalleled in our nation's history… at a period of economic challenge that rivals the Great Depression. And yet, we're on the verge of a third National Blue Ribbon School and continue to meet Adequate Yearly Progress.
I honestly believe that many of you don't realize this. But you should… it's an historical testament to your persistent effort.
I am reminded of a line, from the movie, A Bronx Tale, which was the directorial debut of Robert DeNiro in 1993, "The saddest thing in life is wasted talent, and the choices that you make will shape your life forever."
Please don't waste your talent.
God bless you and your work.