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Dr. Ronald W. Garner, Superintendent

The prophet Isaiah had a vision in which the Lord asked a very direct question.  God very clearly and boldly asked, “Whom shall I send?”  Isaiah answered with utmost confidence, “Send me, Lord.  I will go.”  I am in awe of Isaiah’s courage and decisiveness.  What a remarkable display of setting an example!  God called.  Isaiah answered.  


Mrs. Betty Suber was my kindergarten teacher (she sent me a handwritten note when I became superintendent).  Mrs. Thompson was my first-grade teacher (she taught me how to read).  Mrs. Shields was my second-grade teacher (she came to see me when I had my tonsils removed).  Mrs. Andrews was my third-grade teacher (hardest teacher I ever had- but I learned so much).  Mrs. Moss was my fourth-grade teacher (she paddled my hand because I deserved it).  Mrs. Loretta Brown was my fifth-grade teacher (she paddled my behind with a large paddle and I loved her).  Mr. Willie was our custodian (he bought me a piece of stick candy from the front office every week).  Mrs. Oswald was my sixth-grade teacher (so, so kind).  Mrs. Shell was my seventh-grade teacher (sweet, sweet spirit).  I could go on and on listing the names of teachers, principals, custodians, cafeteria ladies, and bus drivers.  I hope you get the picture.  These people had a profound impact on my life, right up to this very moment.  As I write, my mind is flooded with memories.  Powerful ones.  Profound ones.  Priceless ones.  Who would I be without them?  Where would I be without them?


You see, I am evidence that the profession of teaching is a calling.  They molded me, shaped me into everything that I am today.  They taught me.  Inspired me.  Disciplined me.  Picked me up.  Dusted me off.  Encouraged me.  Loved me.  They did it all!  They literally did it all!  I believe with all of my heart that God placed each of these people in my path for a reason.  He called them and they said, “Send me.”  For that, I am forever grateful.


As I enter my 27th year as a public school educator and my 11th year as the superintendent of Spartanburg One, my heart is filled with gratitude and my mind is reeling with reflection from a year of unprecedented challenges.  I’m still processing.  I’m still trying to understand all that has happened.  However, I am confident and resolute about one thing.  Our children need us now more than ever.  They need us as parents.  They need us as a profession of public school educators.  We most certainly stand at a crossroads.  They need us to lead them, guide them, educate them, and love them.


Here is my challenge to you: Take a deep breath and understand that our children are watching us right this very second.  They are expecting us to rise to this challenge.  That’s exactly what we need to do.  Anger, divisiveness, and mean-spiritedness are not part of the solution.  Our children see enough of this on social media.  Kindness and respectfulness boldly displayed in ALL of our interactions with each other is where we need to start.  


As we start this new school year, I want to be among the first to say, “Send me”.  Send me as the superintendent.  I have heard so many educators say, “Send me”. Send me as the virtual online teacher.  Send me as the traditional classroom teacher.  Send me as the principal.  Send me as the custodian.  Send me as the cafeteria worker.  Send me as the teacher assistant.  Send me as the bus driver.  Send me as the secretary.  Send me to do anything for children because that is what I’m called to do. 


While my aforementioned teachers were not perfect, they were and still are my heroes.  I wish I could have listed every single one of them.  Why?  Because what they did for Ronald W. Garner will never be measurable in this lifetime.  They gave of themselves.  They sacrificed time away from their own families to invest in me.  God called.  They answered.


What does all of this have to do with anything?  It’s simple.  It all matters.  Everything we say and do matters.  Our children are watching.  We are in the process of molding and shaping them.  We can’t afford to fail.  It has nothing to do with your political affiliation, religious background, or anything else that seems to divide us as a people.  It is clear to me that “out of many...there is one.”  Come on...our children are watching.  If we all embraced Isaiah’s courage and decisiveness, how far could we go?  How quickly could we get there?


In conclusion, I had the opportunity on July 3rd, 2020 to stand on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon and look out across one of the most magnificent views ever created by God.  A few days later, I found myself speechlessly staring up at The Grand Tetons in Jackson, Wyoming.  These experiences filled my heart with peace.  Gratitude kept oozing out of my pores.  A renewed and refreshed sense of optimism entered into my soul.  I am so thankful for these experiences.  I’m so thankful for my family and friends.  I am so thankful for Spartanburg One.  And finally, I’m so thankful for the opportunities that lie just ahead of me in the 2020-2021 school year.


Send me.


Sincerely,

Ronald W. Garner, Ed.D.

Superintendent

Spartanburg One  

Mailing Address: PO Box 218 | Campobello, SC 29322
Physical Address: 121 Wheeler Street | Campobello, SC 29322
Phone: 864-472-2846 | Fax: 864-472-4118
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