August 3, 2018
Dear Greenwood Leadership Academy friends and family,
I am writing to announce to you my resignation from my position as founding principal at Greenwood Leadership Academy. This was not an easy decision to make. It is one that I have arrived at after much contemplation and prayer.
The vision of Greenwood Leadership Academy (GLA) and its parent organization, Met Cares Foundation, to transform the educational, social and economic outcomes of north Tulsa students and families and ensure that Black Excellence is evident in every arena of our community is compelling, worthwhile and necessary. I count it an honor to have had the privilege to play a role in establishing the first school that anchors this holistic community transformation model that includes an economic development component and a deep community ownership program. I am thankful to Chairman Owens, our board, staff, students and families for their trust in me.
The foundation and the school have set in motion an endeavor that has garnered broad community support and engagement and imbued us all with hope that North Tulsa—historic Black Wall Street—shall rise again. In our first year, we have been successful in increasing pre-k enrollment nearly three-fold and getting families to return to their neighborhood school. Attendance at GLA exceeded the average for demographically comparable schools and was among the highest district-wide in kindergarten and first grade. GLA student growth in math significantly exceeded the average in demographically similar schools. We have laid the groundwork to positively impact the lifelong trajectories of our students for years to come. The fulfillment of this vision is going to take all of us and is bigger than any one of us.
I am resigning from my role as principal because I feel led by God to do so. I am, unashamedly, a man of faith. I believe in a higher power (which I refer to as God) that is responsible for humankind’s manifestation here on earth. Before we were formed in our mother’s womb, that higher power knew us and gave us a specific purpose. That power guides us along our life’s journey to fulfill our highest potential in service to our given purpose and for the benefit of all humankind. I am yielding to the guidance of that power as I travel along my life’s path. It is as simple (and, I’m sure, as confounding to some) as that.
It isn’t the first time I’ve yielded to such guidance and in such a manner. My forgoing a traditional legal path after law school in favor of a leap of faith to become a teacher in Oklahoma provides a parallel. That decision landed me in a place that would become home, connected me to a resilient community that breathed life into my purpose, and even endowed me with my brilliant and beautiful wife. The benefit of hindsight has only served to strengthen my resolve.
My purpose in life is to serve communities where everyone can grow to their highest potential. My work as founding principal at GLA has been in service to that purpose, and I wholeheartedly believe in the mission of GLA to enable our community to continue to manifest its limitless potential. I am yielding to the guidance of a higher power to step aside, not yet fully understanding why, but certain that it is the right thing for me to do at this time and, that hindsight will once again provide validation.
I will remain as principal at GLA through October while a new school leader is identified to lead us into what is sure to be a promising future. Thank you for your ongoing support.