Dear Long Branch families, students, educators and friends of the Green Wave:
I’ve carried the dreams and aspirations of several generations on my shoulders from the moment I walked into the Garfield -now Audrey Clark School- as a bilingual student. As I approached the classroom door, the teacher took my hand and said to me in Spanish, “Juntos Podemos. Together we can.”
The weight of these generational expectations have been a blessing and a driving force. I carry with me the story of the immigrants that call Long Branch home. I carry with me the surge of pride that you understand when you feel the rumble of the stands on a Friday night and hear the roar of the Green Wave.
I carry with me the wisdom of the barbershop, the sermons from the historic churches and colossal figures of giants and heroes with the coveted titles of “teacher” and “coach,” “principal,” “custodian” and “lunch lady.” The ones who never let me go hungry for food or for knowledge, the ones who made sure I felt safe, secure and above all, the ones who invested a part of themselves through time spent, a lesson shared, an opportunity presented.
Lessons learned from the humblest and most ordinary voices, these are the whispers of my community. It is not lost on me that I stand before you as a true native son of this amazing city. I am proud of being an educational product of the very educational system I’ve devoted my life to for over twenty years.
My love and loyalty to this city and debt of gratitude to its people who collectively raised me to be a man of honor, integrity, and conviction bring me to this moment, with you. I was forged by this city and I owe who I am to the educators I grew up to emulate. I ask that you join me in advancing the ideals and traditions, as only "We Can". To invest your trust in me, understanding that I hold the seat of the office of Superintendent to be a sacred trust and will never for a moment forget that my responsibility is to the children, the families and the community that raised me and brought me to this moment. Juntos Nos Podemos, Juntos Podemos, Together We Can. Let’s be the change together.
Respectfully yours in education,
Francisco E. Rodriguez
Superintendent of Schools