Dear Morgan County Education Community,
I write this letter with a heavy heart and a spirit of gratitude. I have been both blessed and honored to have served a small role in such an amazing school system. However, as we enter this fall season, I am also entering a new season of life. After much thoughtful reflection and prayer, I have decided to finish my primary professional career effective June 30, 2020.
I am confident that there is no better place in the nation to serve than right here in Morgan County. First and foremost, I have been surrounded by a trusting, supportive, and encouraging board of education. The board, under the outstanding leadership of Nelson Hale, has provided the environment for a successful school system. The Morgan County Board of Education has provided the perfect level of engagement. Board members have been personally and professionally supportive of me individually and of leaders, teachers, and staff. Thank you for your untiring efforts to ensure a successful culture that is continuously focused on the students.
I am specifically appreciative of the many staff members, teachers, and leaders which I have had the opportunity to work beside. I appreciate your commitment and dedication to making a difference in the lives of students. My daily interaction with each of you provided me strength and optimism in the midst of challenges we may have encountered. My prayer is that you continue to lead and work with the same enthusiasm and vigor that I observed during my tenure with you. I appreciate you embracing my “Boots on the Ground” leadership style.
I was introduced to a quote when traveling to Japan while chaperoning a group of National FFA leaders, “ichi-go ichi-e,” meaning “one time, one meeting,” For me the quote translates to the idea that we live “each moment, only once,” and that the value of each encounter is that it happens only once in a lifetime. Thank you for the value of each moment which we encountered together.
My heart is so thankful for the One Morgan community. Our recent Advanced report best highlighted the spirit of our community. The group evaluating our system stated, “The ‘One Morgan’ theme permeates the culture and climate of the entire school community.” Permeates – WOW!
The community has been a ray of sunshine during both good times and through the valleys we experienced along the way. Thank you for the expectation of educating the whole student while we were also under the pressure of high stakes accountability. You placed your trust in us as we created a balance in the education of our children. My prayer is that every community embrace public education with the degree of passion and zeal that you have.
Current and future students – I pray that you will take advantage of the many opportunities this community has made available for you.
The changes made in our KASH culture, programming, and career pathways can and will change the course of your life. I challenge you to embrace these opportunities to help chart challenging careers and position yourself for a life of service to others.
And to my family and friends, you have endured the good with the bad. You have given me personal and professional space as required by this position. You have prayed for me and with me. You have encouraged me and questioned me to ensure that my decisions were fair, equitable, and most importantly consistent. Thank you for understanding when I could not be mentally or physically present in your life. Your unconditional love is recognized and appreciated – even when I may have been unlovable.
And finally, I am forever and eternally grateful for the strength provided by Lord and Savior. I have prayed all along this journey that never would my Christian values be compromised by this position. Though I am imperfect, I would state that I have been able to uphold my personal values while executing the duties of this awesome responsibility and protecting the rights of individuals as outlined by the Constitution of our land.
Prayers and support moving forward for an awesome school system.
James R. Woodard, Superintendent Morgan County Charter School System