Thank you, Sonya

Written for my dear friend Sonya-Gunnings Moton, on her retirement from the College of Education at Michigan State University.

Dear Sonya, wishing you all the very best on your retirement. Just want to say how much I have valued having you as a friend and colleague during my stay at MSU. And yes, I totally need to pay you for all the cigarettes I bummed off you during the conversations we had in the “smoking” space in Erickson Hall. All worth it, because it led to one of the most amazing projects I have been part of—the MSU Urban-STEM project. These photos cannot capture just how transformative this project was: 125 teachers working in Chicago Public Schools working with the most awesome instructional and support team ever. We made it happen. A genuine, meaningful and transformative partnership at so many levels. 

Sonya, it has been my privilege to have worked with you over the years. I have learned so much from you, your strength, moral clarity, passion and commitment to education. And most of all, you confirmed something I sort of knew already—that we can be ultra-serious about the work we do, but that does not mean that we need to take ourselves too seriously. You cut through the academic bullshit to focus on what was truly important. You reminded me everyday that one can laugh and have fun even while being passionate and totally committed to the work.

I miss your irreverence, laughter, passion and commitment. You made my world, and that of everyone else who came in touch with you, a better place. Thank you. From the bottom of my heart. I am a better person for having known you. I wish you all the very best and I do hope our paths will cross in the near future.

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