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Superintendent's Office
The Mission of the Superintendent’s Office is to provide leadership in all phases of school operation and to coordinate and supervise, under the policies of the Board, the creation and operation of an environment in which programs and activities are "Student-Centered" and one in which students learn most effectively.
 

I recently had the honor and privilege to attend the Celebration of Life service for James Douglas (Doug) Morgan.  Doug was a teacher.  He passed away on June 17, 2021 unexpectedly. Doug served children as a public school educator in Spartanburg School District Six for over 40 years.  It was a beautiful service that highlighted a life well lived.  Something extraordinary happened to me when I walked into that chapel about 20 minutes prior to the beginning of the service.


You see, this story begins about 27 years earlier.  I walked into Fairforest Middle School in January of 1994 as a 21 year old student teacher.  There, I met Ms. Ella Rose Lee.  She was the lady that I would do my student teaching under for the next several weeks.  I’m certain that my lack of confidence and utter fear was sensed by ALL the minute I entered the building.  Little did I know how much that experience would shape the rest of my life.  During my student teaching experience, I met several larger than life characters.  Doug Morgan was one of them.  To say that I was adopted by the entire faculty and staff at Fairforest Middle School would be an understatement.  Let me list just a few examples of the basics.  Ms. Lee brought me a ham biscuit and Coke from Hardee’s every single morning.  Mr. Doug Morgan rented me my first house on Alamo Street in Spartanburg for $300.00 a month.  At the time, the going rate for rent was $500.00 per month, but he rented me a very nice house for almost half of that because he knew that it was going to be hard for me to even afford the reduced amount.  Mr. Joe Cox, the principal, stopped by on occasion to check on me.  The teachers in that school provided me with endless supplies and moral support throughout the entire Spring semester.  Many teachers would stop by on a daily basis to check on me because they knew that I was taking a chemistry class at night and needed all the help that I could get.  Dr. Ed Donovan was my cooperating professor and his high expectations and endless support pushed my boundaries beyond anything that I ever thought I could do.  Why did all these people even care about me?  What difference did it make to any of them whether I succeeded or failed?  They didn’t know me.  They had their own challenges and lives to live.  They had their own children to raise, classes to teach, and extra responsibilities to execute.


Let me tell you about Ms. Ella Rose Lee, my cooperating teacher during my student teaching experience and later to become my life-long advocate, cheerleader, second mom, chief motivator and supreme supporter.  She didn’t know me and I didn’t know her.  There was no doubt in my mind that the minute she took me under her wing that I was to instantly become like a son to her and that she expected everyone else to treat me as though I was her own flesh and blood.  I will never forget how she treated me and how she presented me to others.  She was proud of me.  She grew to love me deeply and that love has sustained the test of time.  She was a master teacher, extraordinarily positive, divinely patient, and extremely qualified to handle any and everything that life could throw at her.  The term Superhero falls short and does not do enough to describe this wonderful lady.  The only explanation that I can give for the way Ms. Lee accepted me, treated me, and loved me comes from John 15:12 which says, “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.”  There is no other explanation, reason, or worldly account.  Simply put, God ordained and blessed what I have with Ms. Lee.


As I said earlier, I arrived to Doug Morgan’s funeral about 20 minutes early.  I went through the receiving line and greeted his wonderful family.  I then made my way to the chapel where I took my seat on the back row and sat directly in front of Ms. Lee.  I even got up one time to give her a hug before I took my seat again.  In the 20 minutes prior to the service beginning, here is what I witnessed.  All the faculty, staff, and administrators from years gone by streamed into the chapel in preparation for giving their last respects to a lifelong and dear friend and colleague.  I saw so many smiles, long embraces, laughter, and tears.  I saw right before my eyes many years of reflection, triumphs, challenges, experiences, and successes.  Right then and there, it hit me like a brick.  These educators loved each other with all their hearts and souls just as Ms. Lee had taken me in and loved me.  They had spent a lifetime investing into the lives of children and each other.  There was so much love in that room.  As I sat there watching the interactions of these wonderful people, my heart was so full.  I experienced a moment of fulfillment, unconditional love, and the value of perseverance in the journey of life.


While I know that I hold a special place in the heart of Ms. Ella Rose Lee and while I know that I held a special place in the heart of Mr. Doug Morgan, I sat in that service wondering how many more lives have been enriched by these special public school educators.  I am guessing that the number is countless.  If you take all the people in that chapel and multiply that number by the number of lives they so richly influenced, you then come up with an astonishing number that only God knows the true depths of influence.   What a wonderful world we live in and what a wonderful blessing it is to experience true love for one another!  Thank God for teachers.  Thank God for their influence.  Thank God for their compassion, empathy, and downright determination to change the world.  Where would I be without Ms. Ella Rose Lee?  We will never know because God knew that I needed her in my life and that her influence needed to live within me.  As the service concluded, I could hear Ms. Lee crying behind me as she grieved and said her last goodbye to a dear friend. Wow.  What a life well lived!  What an experience to come full circle in life with true friends!

In conclusion, I would like to posthumously thank every teacher that has passed away, every retired teacher, and every active teacher for their service to children and to each other.  I have been reminded of our calling, our blessings, and our charge.  Let us all be renewed in the example set by all of those who have come before us as well as those that exist right here among us. God bless you all!

 

Sincerely,

Ronald W. Garner, Ed.D.

Superintendent, Spartanburg One  

CONTACTS
Dr. Ron Garner
Superintendent 
 
Dr. Stephanie Mathis
Deputy Superintendent
 
Jada Tessnier
Assistant to the Superintendent 
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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