“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
Forty years ago God planted a seed around the dinner table when I was eight years old. This was when my mom was appointed as the principal of a K-3 school in my hometown of Arkadelphia, Arkansas and the dinner table conversations started. During mom’s principalship, my dad started his doctorate in education as well. He was working on the collegiate level but wanted to move to the K-12 ranks. After he completed his doctorate we had two principals in the family.
Throughout my elementary, middle, and high school days I had a front row seat to the the highs and lows of an elementary school, a junior high, a high school, and an alternative high school. I remember asking my parents repeatedly to not talk shop at the dinner table. But, these conversations prepped my heart and brain so long ago. At this time a seed was planted, unbeknownst to me.
This is where my training began so very long ago…Training for what? — to be a school teacher, a school counselor, and now a school principal!
As of June 26, 2017 the seed God planted forty years ago is now going to have the chance to bloom. He has been feeding and fertilizing it for a very long time. I have tried to kill it more than once. I am a runner…literally…but figuratively I have tried to run from the principalship for many years. It finally caught up with me and I am so glad it did!
Train up a child in the way he should go,
And when he is old he will not depart from it.
Mom and dad led by example all of those years. I followed their footsteps into education as a teacher. Once I received my masters in school counseling I decided to keep going and get my administrative certification. Then I remembered all of those conversations…and I said never mind. That was over 15 years ago.
Fast forward to the 2007-2008 school year and my move to Dayton, Tennessee. For those of you who do not know — I moved to Tennessee without a job. I had NO doubt that God was leading me here to be closer to Mike. (This is another God story….) But God had a job waiting on me at Dayton City School. He literally put it in my lap at a luncheon a month after I moved to Tennessee. (I can see I will have to write a prequel to finish this story.) The 2016-2017 school year completed my tenth year at Dayton City School — the job He had waiting on me.
Throughout my tenure are Dayton City School God has been preparing me for this new position. Over the last ten years I have been able to work as the school counselor and physical education teacher. Each of these roles has allowed me to get to know the entire faculty and staff. What a blessing this journey has turned out to be…
Over the last couple of years I have had a couple of angels. Friends who saw the potential God put in me to be a leader. They continue to urge me to pursue my administration certificate. Remember — I am a runner. At first I said NO! 🙂 Then I thought more about it and with a little more prompting decided to go for it. At this point I interviewed with a graduate program in a different county. Needless to say, it was not the right one. I left the interview feeling very discouraged. This is when my running instincts kicked in and I said to myself — “I told you so! I am not going to be a principal.” God had other plans.
The next school year God really started to nudge me again. The tapping was harder this time. The godincidences continued to pop up when people would say things to me at different times without knowing others had said it. Then the tapping became a knock I could not ignore.
He replied, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.”
This time I had to listen and I should have listened before but it was not the right time — God’s time. My next step was to contact the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in the Fall of 2015. The interview was a breath of fresh air and I knew that UTC was where I need to be and where God wanted me. I started school in January 2016. The seed was growing.
In April 2016 our school was looking for a new principal due to the fact our current one was retiring. I interviewed hoping to take the assistant job if it came open. This did not happen. It was not time. Our school hired two great principals and we started the 2016-2017 school year with new leadership. During this time, I worked hard and earned my post masters certificate in school leadership in May of 2017. My schooling provided me with some amazing opportunities to feel God’s hand and know I was on the right track — His track for my life.
Not knowing what God had in store I chose to be still and wait. During this time I had a conversation with a colleague that I will never forget. This colleague approached me and asked me to make sure I stayed at Dayton City School once I finished my certificate. I responded with “I don’t want to go anywhere and I know God is the god of the impossible but I don’t see either principal leaving — this is both of their first years.” Little did I know that our PreK-3rd grade principal would resign on June 5. (Though she wasn’t with us long — she will be missed. She decided she wanted to teach again.) The door that had been closed was now reopening. God’s perfect timing!
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
To sum it all up — the seed God planted forty years ago is now about to bloom. I interviewed and accepted the job on Monday. I started working immediately. God is so very good. He knew I need extra time and extra work to be ready for this position to which He has called me. All of the pruning along the way will make me a better leader. There is NO doubt in my mind that God orchestrated this long ago. He was waiting on His timing….perfect timing to bring this journey, traced by His mighty hand into bloom.
I am beyond excited to continue what He has started and let Him be my strength. God is good all the time and all the time God is good. He gave me the best mentors a principal could have in the form of my mom and dad forty-eight years ago. The training they started in the form of dinner table conversations will now take root in a different form — I will put it into action with God’s power and strength.
And how could I fail to mention the amazing support of my amazing husband who is the main reason I moved here??? Tomorrow we will have been married nine years and he has been right next to me through the home stretch. He supported me through the hard days/nights of graduate school. I am blessed beyond measure to have him support all I do 100%. We are a great team!
“The LORD is my strength and song, And He has become my salvation; This is my God, and I will praise Him; My father’s God, and I will extol Him.”