While Carrollton City Schools students were busy getting ready for the start of a brand new year, teachers and staff gathered last week to learn about their own assignments, prompted by a message delivered by one of their peers.
In opening remarks to kick off the annual convocation celebration last Wednesday in the Mabry Center for the Arts, inspirational messages from Coach Don Bray and Carrollton Board of Education member David Godwin led to thoughtful reflection among the 600-plus teachers and support staff members ranging from bus drivers to clerical and cafeteria assistants.
Bray, a coach and P.E. teacher at Carrollton High School, shared with the faculty and staff a simple, yet powerful, way to look at their roles within a school.
“My assignment has always been to take care of kids,” he said. By doing this, Bray said personal blessings followed, but when he lost focus on “the assignment” and concentrated on the blessings, he soon learned that the students would suffer and eventually the blessings would go away.
“Some kids are going to be easy to teach, and some hard,” he said. “But look at those kids every day and let them know they are your assignment. Tell them you are going to take care of them – and love them.
“Now that those kids know you really care about them, watch the performance they will give you,” he continued. “I want to encourage you to take care of your assignment, and you will receive more blessings than you could ever imagine.”
Bray’s message came on the heels of a heartfelt tribute to teachers from Godwin, who expressed the school board’s appreciation for them through an adaptation of an online post by Cameron Reeves Poynter on her Lucky Orange Pants blog titled “I am the Keeper,” a tribute to the role of the parent who runs a household.
Talking to teachers, Godwin noted each of them is “the keeper of our community’s most prized possessions. You bring them in and guide them in their most formative years and lead them all the way up and to the point in which we are ready to release them into the world as young adults.”
Teachers, Godwin said, are the keepers of peace, the mediators of disagreements, the keepers of examples, of memories, of the seen and the unseen.
Godwin acknowledged many times teachers and support staff are “keepers of the unkept, and for some, the keeper for those who have no keeper at all.”
Another long-time “keeper” of the school system was honored during Godwin’s time at the podium. Dr. Jimmy Pope, current Carrollton Board of Education chairman, was recognized for distinguished service on the board. Pope has announced his intention to retire at the end of the year and will complete his tenure as the longest-serving board member in the school system’s history.
Following some light-hearted video fun and a saxophone interlude by Director of Transportation Montrell McClendon, Dr. Mark Albertus, superintendent, revealed the theme for the upcoming year, “Trojans Will.”
“Will can be a noun or a verb,” said Albertus. “It is the Trojan will to accomplish great things, and Trojans will see to it that goals are accomplished with excellence.”