Monday, September 30, 2013

Coming home to writing (24/60)

One of my goals over the past year has been to find a replacement for me as director of the Maine Writing Project and thereby give myself just a bit more time to work on my writing, teaching, and research. As you'll read in the letter below, I've been at this work with the Writing Project for the past decade. I've had fun with the job--even during the struggles--but I've also recognized that such a job is a convenient way to avoid writing.

"Oh, I've got to answer this email... Oh, I've got to work on that project..."

In truth, such an administrative job drags me away from my writer's life just like, as I've written earlier on, Lady Bugs and Cluster Flies. You may remember that I have a hand-held vacuum cleaner and I just love to run around the house sucking up bugs... it's just so sad.

Anyway, I found just the person for Director in Ken Martin, the Writing Project's associate director. The letter I sent out to my friends and colleagues pretty much sums up what I feel about Ken. Not everyone is as lucky as me to name his replacement and to know that that replacement will be superb. Now, it's time for me to write... Here's the letter I sent to my friends and colleagues:

Dear friends and colleagues

I am so very pleased to announce that associate director Ken Martin '99 is now Director of the Maine Writing Project. Ken's longstanding commitment to MWP makes him ideal to assume the leadership role of MWP at the University of Maine.

Over the years Ken has spearheaded projects such as "Our Maine: The Way Life Is," MWP's version of the National Writing Project's "Rural Voices Radio" programs. He and Debra Butterfield were terrific organizers and leaders of this state-wide project that involved Maine students and teachers. With Dave Boardman, Ken played a critical role in developing NWP's Digital Is resource website as well as helping us create the MWP Graduate Program in Writing and the Teaching of Writing. He's also reinvented the Invitational Summer Institute (ISI) by creating an Annual Institute comprised of an online spring semester and an on-campus summer institute.

Over the past decade in the Maine Writing Project, Ken has led a wide range of professional development activities, presented nationally, chaired conferences, and served as an ISI Mentor, ISI Co-Director and Director, Technology Liaison, Professional Development Director, Co-Director, and Associate Director. And somewhere in the midst of all of this work, he became Dr. Ken Martin!

As for me, I'll be helping Ken with the transition and then plan to dig deeper into my own writing, research, and teaching. I've been honored to serve as MWP's director over the past 10 years. I've loved the friendships and the laughter. Most of all, I've enjoyed the work accomplished by all of us on behalf of the students, teachers, and communities in Maine and beyond. We've made a difference... and there's so much more to come. 

I know you'll understand when I say that there's nothing more fulfilling than handing off this directorship to someone like Ken Martin, a man of grace and intelligence.

Warmest wishes ... keep writing!

Ken Martin, Director, Maine Writing Project
Rich Kent, former Director, Maine Writing Project

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