Letter to Cheatham County School Board, Administrators, Staff, Parents, Students, and Teachers:
I want to thank everyone for the opportunity to work and serve the students of Cheatham County for 23 years. I have always been student centered as a teacher in the classroom, as the Principal of Pegram Elementary, and as the Principal of Cheatham County Central High School. In 2011, I was pulled out of my comfort zone of Elementary Principal to take over as Principal of a High School. I tackled this challenge, as I do everything, with a positive attitude and hard work. I met with the teachers, staff, parents and students to gather information and get their input. As a leader, I knew that I had to establish a positive, fair, caring environment so that a trusting relationship with all stakeholders would evolve. We were going forward.
After my summative evaluation on May 28th, I was told to hand in my keys. The reason given was that the district was going in a different direction (this is a standard reply when you are getting rid of someone in the state of Tennessee). My direction and values that I have always lived by and taught are: students first, charity, forgiveness, honesty, love, acceptance, responsibility, hard work, integrity, service, and excellence. I really hope our schools are not going in a different direction from these values.
I want to thank everyone for their kind comforting words and thoughts. I would like to quote one of the messages I received. “This is my fifth year teaching in Cheatham County. I love my school and my principal hung the educational moon. But, I have accepted a position in another county. I feel that in this current district my future growth and security may be stifled. It’s really quite a shame. Please keep your chin up.” I put this in my letter because in the past 3 years we have lost something very important in this county, TRUST. As Stephen Covey stated, “TRUST is the glue of life. It’s the most essential ingredient in effective communication.” Our administrators, teachers, and staff are under pressure because there is NO effective truthful communication going on in our school district. In my 41 years as an educator, I have never seen politics destroy a school district from within, until now. I had a very sick feeling last year when Dianne Williams left. She was the foundation of our district and one of the hardest working individuals I have known. I know that with excellent principals, assistant principals, counselors, and teachers our school district will go forward and regain what we have lost. It may be a long journey because trust and true effective communication must be established again in our school community.
My life will now be going in another direction. No more of the exciting chaotic time before school begins; the in service meetings, planning, scheduling, new student registration, meeting parents and students. I will miss it very much. I will continue keeping my positive attitude and the values that I have always lived and worked by. Life is good! You are in my prayers!
CCCHS Principal 2011-2013
Pegram Elementary Principal 2003-2011
Cheatham Co. Classroom Teacher 1991-2003