“Put the most important stuff at the beginning” I tell my students. So I will.

Today is my last day as editor of the Norman Transcript.

It’s difficult to explain what Norman has meant to me these past four years. I came to Norman in the summer of 2015 having only visited the city once. I moved away from my hometown and my family for the first time in my life to edit a daily newspaper in the third largest city in Oklahoma. I was stepping into a role occupied by a lifelong Normanite for the past 20 years. It was… intimidating.

Norman welcomed me with open arms and now, writing this, I just feel an overwhelming sense of love and belonging. I learned so much about journalism, about running a newspaper, about people and about myself.

So many amazing moments: dancing with my Leadership Norman family, taking an end-of-the-semester selfie with my OU students, winning three consecutive Sequoyah awards, sunsets at Lake Thunderbird, quiet afternoons in the Great Reading Room, rocking at Norman Music Festival, cheering at Sooner football games, walking Owen Field during Crosstown Clash, announcing during the downtown Christmas Parade and writing story after story about the amazing people who make up this community.

Norman introduced me to another career for which I found a passion: teaching. I’ve been blessed to teach a journalism class at the University of Oklahoma over the past four semesters to 60+ of some of the brightest, funniest, most inspiring young men and women I’ve ever met. My time on campus has also allowed me to observe the awesome journalists at the OU Daily. Oklahoma journalism is in good hands.

I will continue to support the Norman Transcript. Community news has never been more important, and I encourage all of you to join me in doing so. Subscribe, buy an ad, share a story. Your support is what makes local journalism possible.

I’m moving to El Dorado, Arkansas to work as the managing editor of the El Dorado News-Times. I’ll be back from time to time to say “Hi,” eat a sandwich at Midway Deli and see Hosty on Sunday night. A piece of my heart will always be near the Palace on the Prairie.

I’m excited about the next chapter in my life, about all the new challenging things I will experience. But I would by lying if I wasn’t sad about leaving. After all, not all tears are an evil, as Tolkien wrote.

Until I see you again…