Wednesday, April 16, 2014

A Message From Mr. Carr

Good evening,

Today was one of the hardest days of my life thus far, certainly one that I will never forget.  The people that God has blessed my family and I with through our time as a Spartan and my role as the band director of the Spirit of South Paulding all have a very special place in my heart.  The decision to take the job at Carrollton High School was not an easy decision, but after much prayer and consideration Lindsay and I feel like it is the best decision for our family.

On March 17, 2014, I received an unexpected phone call from the principal, Dr. Albertus, at Carrollton High School.  I normally would not have received the phone call at school because it was on my cell phone and you all know how lousy the service is in the band room.  On that day, Ms. Harmon had asked me to cover a class for Ms. Wright, so on my way back from her classroom I gained service while passing through the commons area from an unfamiliar number.  I checked the voicemail that from the missed call and I learned that Carrollton was in search for a band director.  At that time I was unsure if I was returning a phone call because I was being recruited or because I was needed as a reference for a colleague.  Not even two minutes later, I praying about the occurrence, which is what I try to do whenever something doesn't make sense to me, and I opened an App on my phone that downloaded automatically because my wife had downloaded it from our shared iTunes account.  I was curious about what the app was because I had never seen it before.  Little did I know that it was a scripture app that was about to change my life forever.  The app asked me to choose a photo - here is a screenshot from the app that I took to share with Lindsay.

I followed up with the principal at CHS and he mentioned that they were in search for a new director and that he had heard very positive things about me from various sources.  He asked if he could have a few minutes of my time and was willing to drive out to meet me locally to make it convenient.  I told him that I was extremely happy with my current situation, but after reading that verse I had decided to at least investigate the situation.  We met for dinner one night and had a very long conversation about the opportunity, which concluded with an invitation to interview the next week.  

Confirming with myself that an interview was not a commitment, I agreed to visit CHS to participate in the interview process.  The interview process consisted of conducting the band classes, interviewing with the student leadership, interviewing with a 14 person panel consisting of booster officers, band parents, assistant principals, the head football coach, and county personnel, then an interview with the principal and the superintendent.  In the interview process I mentioned to everyone that I was very happy at SPHS and saw the interview process as me interviewing them as much as they were interviewing me.  They asked why I was there even though I had a job that I was happy with and I was honest about my experience with Jeremiah 29:11 and that God was in control.  

After interviewing I spoke with my wife about the opportunities that Carrollton could provide.  The layout of the campus is conducive of more time with my family, and having more assistants will also allow me to be home more with my family.  Even after hearing of all of its potential, I was still very unsure.  One of my good friends from college is the current band director at Carrollton and I didn't want to step on his toes or do anything to jeopardize our friendship.  I would have to say goodbye to some of the most important people in my life if I decided to go to CHS.  Lindsay and I would start new jobs and we would have to find a new house because the commute is pretty far.  We had a lot to consider, but an offer had not been made.  

It took over a week to hear again from Dr. Albertus about the position at CHS.  I had a good experience during the interview process and was hopeful that the job would be offered to me.  Still at this point I was unsure if I wanted to take the offer if one was made, but I definitely wanted to receive the offer.  I knew going into the interview that even if I was unsure about wanting to take the job or not, I wanted to perform as well as I expect my kids to perform.  I was planning on winning the job.  If the job was offered, then I would be faced with a very tough decision, but the decision would be mine to make.  Dr. Albertus invited me to lunch one day during Spring Break.  Lindsay and I were sure that if he wanted to meet with me again that he would be making me an offer.  Turns out he just had a few more questions for me.  Between you and me I think he wanted to gauge my interest and be sure that if he made an offer that I would honestly consider it.  Although throughout this entire process I feel like God was leading me to a decision, I did not want to listen to him.  Meeting with Dr. Albertus I mentioned to him at our third meeting that Lindsay and I had agreed that the opportunities in Carrollton would be better for our family if it were offered to us.

The next day Dr. Albertus's secretary called to ask if I could meet with Dr. Albertus.  I drove out to meet him and an offer was finally made.  I thanked him for the offer and asked him if I could speak it over with my wife, he kindly agreed.  After praying about it with Lindsay we decided that the opportunity was too good to pass up.  We considered how hard it would be to break the news to our SPHS and Dugan family because of how close we are to everyone, but knew that it was the best decision.  

Today has been one of the hardest days of my life.  I did not look forward to it, because I never want to do anything that I feel like hurts someone, especially my students.  I knew that even if the students are genuinely happy for my family, that it would be impossible to break the news to them without hurting feelings and causing pain.  I felt the same pain and agony as I told the students this afternoon.  I am blessed that many of the students came by afterwards to give me a much needed hug, thank me for what I have done, and to wish me the best.  I will cherish my time with each and every person who I have had the pleasure of working with at South Paulding High School.  All of our students, parents, teachers, staff, administration, and custodians have become a part of my family and I will miss you.  

I find comfort in knowing that there is still a very strong family at SPHS.  Just as God lead me to Carrollton he is preparing and leading someone to SPHS.  I have faith that he/she will be the right person for the job and will continue to achieve great things with our students.  And I will happily be only a phone call away from all of you if you need to just talk or need advice.  I may not have the answer, but I will surely be happy to hear from you.

I started this post around 8:00PM and now it is 10:00PM.  It has not been an easy post to write.  I appreciate your continued support and will never forget those that have helped Lindsay and I to this point.  South Paulding High School has seen the start of my career, the birth of Cadence, my promotion to a head director, the birth of Colin, and the birth of Charlotte.  Thank you for allowing me to lead your children through love and compassion; it has truly been an honor.  

With Love,

Mr. Carr