Blog

“Oh The Blogs We Have Done!” A RE@L Thank You to Tom King

by | Jul 25, 2021 | RE@L StudentCorner | 0 comments

It seems appropriate, as we enter in to the world stage of another summer Olympics, to acknowledge that there’s been a recent ‘passing-of-the-torch’, so to speak, of RE@L’s blog responsibilities.

For the past eight years, RE@L’s engine-of-innovation, Tom King, has served as idea catalyst and innovator through the RE@LBlog as its self-proclaimed Blogmeister. During his tenure as Blogmeister, Tom has developed over 300 blogs, all of them highlighting RE@L’s thoughts about K-12 education, including RE@L STEM investigations, and our first product-to-market, 1Up On Vaping™.

As a relative newcomer to RE@L, I have witnessed firsthand the commitment of a true innovator and teammate in Tom King, retiring RE@L Blogmeister. While I have had the pleasure to work with Tom over the past several weeks, some members of the RE@L team have known Tom for decades, and they have offered for my inclusion into this RE@LBlog post many tributes for consideration. I compiled all of the comments, and developed the word cloud below. Take a look.

No. Take a CLOSER look. These are the most common words from the RE@LTeam and friends of RE@L who describe Tom King. And I must tell you, given my experience working side-by-side with Tom over the past several weeks, he’s the real deal. The words captured in this collection of text are spot on. I can personally validate these effusively positive descriptions of our retiring Blogmeister.

RE@L’s Co-Founder, President and CEO, Paul Gullickson says of his friend and colleague, Tom King:  “I was introduced to him when I started at MECC in 1986.  He was working at St. Paul Public Schools.  We talked many times about providing the ‘best of class’ supplemental learning materials and also supporting students  with a  pathway to apply those concepts to ‘experiential learning.’  They were able to apply what they learned as key concepts to real world applications!”

Born out of this new vision of student learning was St. Paul Public School’s the Saturn School.  “The Saturn School was definitely “his baby”; said RE@L’s co-founder and Chairman of the Board, Dale La Frenz.  “He birthed it and he grew it.”

An innovative and visionary school, one of the first in America which tethered students and student voice with technology. So intriguing was the Saturn School, it garnered a visit from then President George H. W. Bush. “We can legitimately claim that the Saturn Project was a giant push to get education to look at what was happening and what was needed for schools,” said La Frenz.

“Subsequently, this new, modern school put Minnesota on the tech ed map. Many of my new colleagues at RE@L, were also employees of the Minnesota Educational Computing Consortium (MECC),” said Jo Friedman, Executive Vice President of Operations, Human Resources and Organizational Development. She says of Tom, “A true teacher and mentor, Tom had many connections with the MECC staff, which meant we were still in contact as the whole ed tech field ramped up and spread throughout Minnesota schools, and the nation.”

“As RE@L’s ‘Blogmeister’, Tom provided the same outstanding team work and leadership that one would expect from the innovator that he is,” says Don Rawitsch, RE@L’s Executive Vice-President for Product Development. “I think he contributes to RE@L by offering fresh perspectives to our company discussions and planning. [He] provides a good sounding-board for how technology can benefit schools.”

Sarah Bass, RE@L’s Co-Founder and STEM Innovator, says of Tom’s blog work. [Tom has provided] “a positive approach to the blogs, including words and stories that promote encouragement to teachers in trying new things, being advocates for the students in their own classrooms, and promoting real-world teaching/learning, ensuring they were current and relevant to what was happening today.”

Finding the right words is a Tom King trademark. In his final meeting with the RE@L marketing team, he expressed both his gratitude and his words of encouragement to the team in this reflective poem:

As RE@L’s new Blogmeister, I am overwhelmed at the impressive education legacy with which Tom has blessed all of us. In our work together over the past several months, Tom has consistently demonstrated the myriad positive attributes as described by members of the RE@LTeam.

Tom has provided great insights, great leadership, great teamwork, and great friendship. In the spirit of the summer Olympics, which began with the opening ceremony just two days ago, Tom King – with the humility and care and coaching that only the best of the best educators demonstrate — has completed the ‘passing of the torch’ with supportive phrases like:

“You can do it.”

“I like what you did there.”

“You are catching on fast.”

“Let’s edit this together.”

“You’re in charge of the blog now.”

And so, it is in this spirit of “You’re in charge of the blog now,” that I make my first official, Blogmeister declaration in the form of the following RE@LBlog proclamation:

While Tom has relinquished the day-to-day machinations of blog development for our RE@LTeam, he will continue in true emeritus fashion as a support to our work here at RE@L.com. You will see his original work with less frequency, but his past contributions will remain at the heart of RE@L’s present and future blog development.

Thank you, Tom!

 

Randy Nelson

Author

Randy Nelson is a retired educator of 38 years. He served students as a high school speech, theater, and English teacher. He served colleagues as a director of curriculum and instruction; and, mostly recently he served the La Crosse, WI school district as its superintendent of schools. He has a strong leadership track record promoting choice and innovation via unique community partnerships. He currently serves RE@L.com as its Director of Education.