Today is officially Zac Chase day. Celebrate with your friends, exchange pleasantries, grab your favorite bowtie, and ask questions!
Today is Zac Chase’s last day at the Office of Educational Technology. It is a bittersweet day as we will all miss Zac greatly, but we are excited to see him take on a new challenge in his career.
I first connected with Zac, as most educators have for the past eight years, through Twitter. I followed his blog and read it consistently. Before I attended Educon 2.0 in 2010, I engaged in an interesting dialogue with Zac and Tim Gwyn on Twitter. I can’t really recall how it exactly started, but it involved the three of us strategizing how we would disperse guacamole throughout the Science Leadership Academy (SLA) so that no attendee could take more than ten steps without being able to dip a chip. I knew quickly that Zac and I would be friends.
I followed Zac through his time at SLA and during his time at Harvard. I didn’t physically follow him because that would just be weird. Rather, I followed his work, his passion for making education better and equal, and his silliness. When Zac was announced as a ConnectED Fellow back in 2014, I was super excited for him and this opportunity. I was also curious about how I could share my work with him and how, just maybe, I might look into the same opportunity someday. For me, that someday came roughly one year ago.
During the past year, I have had the privilege of working with Mr. Chase. Zac showed me the ropes at USDOE and introduced me to some great people. We supported each other in leading White House events that showcased our respective work. To even write that sentence gives me chills. We created a variety show where occasionally we would break into talk show characters and discuss randomness at length. And, while I will miss Zac’s vibrant, hilarious personality, it’s not what I will miss most about working with him.
What I will miss most about working with Zac is his unique perspective on issues and his ability to push my thinking in new directions that I never knew existed. I will miss going to meetings with Zac and watching him question ideas and insights put forward. I got to see this first hand yesterday when we attended a meeting at the White House on the updated Lifeline program from the FCC. Zac’s passion for this topic unfolded as I sat next to him and watched him question information shared. On the train ride back to the office, after a quick stop at the White House gift shop for a few treasures, we strategized how we could solve some of the issues presented.
Since I arrived at USDOE, Zac has been an exemplary colleague to every person who walked into our office. He’s a special person who if you have a chance once in your life to talk to him, you should. I will miss the tomfoolery, the conversations, but most of all, I will miss working with my friend.