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  Hoodless Klan - Excerpt

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Finding Humor In Grief


  This is a very sad and very funny true story of how Dr. Ruth learned to push past the grief of losing her husband of 45 years. It's also her spiritual journey to draw closer to God, while finding the new normal for daily living.

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CHAPTER ONE � A Loathsome Letter
I had been Principal of Pine Woods Charter Elementary School a few months when my boss, Area Superintendent, Larry Leonard rushed into my office and closed the door. Larry was an ordinary looking man, a little older and taller than I, with thinning hair that was shades of gray, and unsuccessfully covered his balding dome. He had terrible- looking teeth when he grinned, and he grinned often because he had a wonderful sense of humor. We jokingly compared his thick New England accent to my pronounced New York accent among so many Southern drawls.

Larry appreciated my thirty-eight years of experience in education, trading �war stories� on some of his visits to my school, and earning the respect of all one hundred, fifty staff members who paid extra attention whenever he was in the building. He was someone whom folks genuinely wanted to please, because he spoke to everyone and gave quick feedback when he observed teachers in classrooms.

But today, he was official, bringing his subordinate a complicated problem that needed urgent attention. He passed me a letter and then sat quietly while I read it. The format was an email from one of my parents to Larry Leonard and a dozen other parents connected to Pine Woods Charter Elementary School:

To the Concerned Citizens for a Better Shady Brook Community, since the arrival of Dr. Grace Middleton, Pine Woods Charter Elementary School has been on a slippery slope to destruction. All that we worked so hard to achieve when we became a charter school is getting away because she knows nothing about us, nor how we do things here.

Our children are no longer being grouped properly into classes, and we want to see a blueprint of next year�s schedule to prove that she knows how to do that correctly. Classes are overcrowded, which we all know is not conducive to learning. Our By-Laws protect us from high numbers, but she�s disregarding that by allowing too many students to enroll. Teachers are teaching to the state test instead of what our kids need and the noise level in the halls and the cafeteria is out of control! Staff stopped enforcing the discipline or uniform policies that are part of our charter.

We�ve had a huge exodus of teachers since Middleton arrived and we hear more are planning to leave. Her credentials and communication skills are questionable. She�s not professional! Please meet Wednesday night at my home at 7:00 p.m. so we can send a message to Middleton and take back our school before it�s too late. Y�all know my house. Glad that we�re coming together to save our kids!

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