My first year of teaching was at Lyman Ward in 1965-66. I taught English for that one year under Colonel Smith as President and Lt. Colonel Everett H. Ramsey as Dean of Instruction. As with any of the experiences that a first year, inexperienced teacher faces, becoming a teacher was an awesome experience, one made better by the mentorship, leadership, and encouragement from fellow teachers with more teaching experience like Captain Wayne Betts and Coach J. D. Gooden. These two gentlemen remain my lifelong friends
Before I agreed to teach for that one year, I had already decided to pursue graduate school, and I did and then for two years taught at George C. Wallace State Technical Community College in Dothan. Two years later at the insistence of Colonel Ramsey and Colonel Smith, I returned to teach English at Lyman Ward where I remained until June, 1984
These were wonderful years and most of the cadets that I taught became and still remain life-long friends just as Captain John Strunk, Captain Bill Lish, Captain Dee Orem, and Major Joe Watson are. I know of three former students who gave the name Paul to their own sons in my honor, or so they claim. The ultimate compliment. For these 14 years, I directed plays, mostly musical comedies, the success of which was always attributed to the genuine and mostly-hidden musical and acting talents of the cadets who participated. Until the mid-1970’s, I also was the faculty advisor to both the student newspaper, The Sentinel, and the yearbook, The Ranger. When the graduation exercises were moved from the Futch Parade Field to the inside, I directed and rehearsed all of the graduation exercises, and most of the time, I had to teach the tune of the Alma Mater to the graduating seniors so that they could sing it at their graduation. During these same years, and before the official establishment of the Alumni Association, I maintained the alumni mail-out list and sent copies of The Sentinel at least twice a year to all alumni whose addresses were current.
During these busy times, I completed my graduate work for the Master’s and began the coursework and the research for the doctorate in educational leadership and English education which I completed in August of 1988. In September of 1984, I joined the central office administration of the general superintendent of the Dallas Public Schools in Texas as a curriculum write for secondary English language arts and reading. And I continued to teach part time in the evenings as a member of the adjunct faculty of SMU in Dallas. By 1999, I had become one of the deputy superintendents in Dallas, responsible for the supervising the administrative functions of curriculum, instruction, school improvement, human resources, bilingual education, and instructional technology
I retired for working in Texas in August, 1999, and returned to my home state of Alabama, when I became the assistant superintendent for human resources with the Mobile County Public School System (Alabama’s largest public school system). I remained in that position for ten years, and retired in 2009. When I returned to Alabama, because I was closer in proximity, I became actively involved with the formal establishment of the Alumni Association of SII and LWMA, serving both on the board of directors and for a short time its executive director
After a most rewarding career of 43 years as a teacher and an educational administrator, I am now living in my family home, the place where I was born and reared, just outside the small town of Greenville, Alabama. Now I have begun a new profession, vastly different from before. I am growing pine trees commercially on the vast acreage where my father and his family before him once cultivated cotton, corn, peanuts, and raised chickens, cows, and hogs. I still receive calls for advice and consulting in regard to teacher preparation, but technically I am officially retired.
My love for Lyman Ward Military Academy as an institution has not waned or lessened in all these years. I certainly hold my being a teacher at LWMA as the most rewarding of my entire career. My love for Lyman Ward Military Academy as an institution has not waned or lessened in all these years. I certainly hold my being a teacher at LWMA as the most rewarding of my entire career.