They have internet access in Siberia!

Hi, my name is Andy. It’s been a while, so please allow me to introduce myself. I’ve got a feeling that with the proliferation of bloggers and tweeters since my departure, a quick recap is in order.

AndySmarick
He's back...

When we first met, I was a relatively recently married young guy with no kids, living a quiet, happy life near Annapolis, Maryland. I used to do a little education policy stuff here and there. Then I took a break, and did a bit of thinking and research for a couple organizations, including here at TBFI. Spent lots of time at coffee shops with a laptop and headphones.

I also had this small side project that took a little time and is finally about to bear some fruit.

Then I went away for a couple years. Now I’m back on the scene, crispy and clean.

So, if you don’t mind, allow me to reintroduce myself.

I’m now a thirty-six-year-old father of three, including a two-year old and four-month-old twins. I have a minivan. I wash a lot of bottles. I am told by a little voice at my knee every time a truck drives by. Or the mailman. I’m also excellent at reading books by Jez Alborough.

I now work for Bellwether Education Partners. I get to read, research, think, write, and help lots of different organizations do great things for kids. So that’s nice.

But back to the interregnum.

You see, I went to New Jersey, and things were pretty quiet up there. Not much news to speak of. The transition into my new job was very smooth.

But amid the din, I also did a little education-reform work.

I helped totally reorganize and re-staff a massive bureaucracy; launch a performance-based teacher-evaluation program; earn and spend Race to the Top 3 funds; negotiate a massive, unexpected tenure-reform law, begin Common Core implementation, earn a federal waiver from ESEA, win a big federal charter-schools grant, try to rationalize state-school funding, and prepare for online-common assessments.

I witnessed firsthand the utter dysfunction of urban districts, learned to appreciate more than ever before the folly of school turnarounds, oversaw the fifth-largest charter-authorizing body in the nation, helped streamline the entirety of the state’s education-regulatory code, attracted high-performing school operators to the state, closed a bunch of lousy charters, got sued regularly by reform opponents, was regularly insulted  by people I’d never met and charged with all types of unseemly things.

So, I can’t promise anything. But maybe, just maybe, I might have a thing or two to write about in the days to come.

Honestly, it’s a strange and wonderful feeling being back behind the wheel of Flypaper. In some ways it seems like a lifetime ago that I was blogging here. But in other ways it feels like I never left. Let’s just pretend we never parted ways.

So don’t call it a comeback.

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