An admired educator gone too soon

I didn’t really know Dr. Steven Mayer, but I knew OF him. In  education circles, he was deeply respected and revered by everyone who ever mentioned his name. He was friends with people who I have immense admiration for and talked about, ALWAYS, in the most positive manner. He was a force.

Tragically, Dr. Mayer was killed yesterday while innocently jogging with his dog. The outpouring of love and support for his family and the Robbinsville School District is immense and a testament to the love and esteem that those inside and outside of education had for him.  Hearing all of the testimonials on social media, the web, and through the news just increases the admiration I have for this man.

Dr. Mayer’s influence and impact on the kids from Grover (where he was a Principal in the West-Windsor Plainsboro School District) to the students of Robbinsville cannot be measured, because the true effect of his working with others may not be realized for years. It reminds me of a prayer from Archbishop Oscar Romero, which I often associate with education and helps to clarify this sentiment.

A Future Not Our Own

It helps, now and then, to step back and take the long view.

This is what we are about:                                                                                             We plant seeds that one day will grow.                                                                   We water seeds already planted, knowing that they hold future promise.                                                                                                                                                       We lay foundations that will need further development.                                 We provide yeast that produces effects beyond our capabilities.               We cannot do everything and there is a sense of liberation in realizing that.                                                                                                                                       This enables us to do something, and to do it very well.                                      It may be incomplete, but it is a beginning, a step along the way…                   We may never see the end results……

We are prophets of a future not our own. 

For the past 24 hours, I’ve been thinking about Dr. Mayer, his family and that innocent ritual of jogging, which many of us do, on a daily basis. How can something so embedded into our daily routine become something so tragically inserted into our life story? I have no doubt that the seeds Dr. Mayer planted are already making a difference in the world and the foundations that he lay have inspired thousands of students to become the best they can be. He was an educator, a educational “prophet of a future not his own.”

In this terribly difficult time for his wife, his sons, and all who knew him, I hope there is some comfort in knowing that even those of us who knew OF him greatly admired a man who lived his life to inspire and make a difference…the very best that education has to offer.