Dougherty County School System Interim Superintendent Butch Mosely describes himself as as a “coach, principal and high-mileage school teacher.” He became Dougherty’s interim superintendent in January and will remain on the job until September of next year. (Staff Photo: Terry Lewis)
ALBANY — At 72, Dougherty County System David “Butch” Mosely is closing in on his fifth retirement, but shows no signs of slowing down. The man self described as a “coach, principal and high-mileage school teacher,” became Dougherty’s interim school superintendent in January and will remain on the job until September of next year.
It doesn’t take long to discover that Mosely is a straight talker and is driven to leave his mark on the DCSS.
Q: If you were fresh out of school, what would you first do in searching for a job?
A: I would decide what it was I wanted to do, the vocation I was willing to accept, and develop a professional resume and place it in the appropriate places. After two weeks, I would follow up with a telephone call or a personal visit.
Q: What was your first job?
A: Selling boiled peanuts in downtown Climax and mowing six or seven lawns with a 28-inch push mower. I also showed steers and pigs while in high school.
Q: What was the first thing you bought after you got your first paycheck?
A: I don’t remember the first thing I bought, but I saved most of it and paid cash for my first car with my savings. It was a 1951 Ford Crestliner with a vinyl top. My second car was a used 1954 Ford convertible bought here in Albany from Haley Motor Company.
Q: Who was your role model or mentor in your current job?
A: Actually, I had four when I was growing up, my father, my high school coach, Mr. Ben Hill Strickland; my high school English teacher and my Sunday school teacher, Mrs. Pat Wells, and her husband Mr. Clifford Wells. I have always been grateful for my father for teaching me a good work ethic and to do what you say you are going to do. From a career perspective, my role models were the first principals I worked with, Mr. Glen Scruggs and Mr. Ralph Wells, both from Pelham, and Coach Spencer Davis and Mr. J. W. McAllaster, from Bainbridge. All of these were outstanding educators who made a great impact on my career. My wife of 47 years, June, has been a vital part of my career. She has always been a good sounding board and has supported me in my various job opportunities. She has also been a wonderful mother to our two children and grandmother to our six grandchildren.
Q: How has the recession affected education budgets, specifically within the DCSS?
A:The cuts have been drastic, more than $80 million in austerity cuts over the last ten years.
Q: If you could turn back the clock on one aspect of technology (email, internet, cell phones, etc.) what would it be and why?
A: I detest automated answering machines and voice mail because they are so impersonal and have become an excuse for not answering the phone to avoid face-to-face conversation. The internet has taken us from too little information to too much. Cell phones have their place, but I feel texting interferes with our students learning good social skills.
Q: I am up and going by …?
A: By 5:30 or 6 every morning
Q: Favorite hobby or activity outside of work?
A: Hunting, fishing, reading and high school and college sports.
Q: If you could take back one decision in your career, what would it be?
A: I would have fired an employee whose actions brought embarrassment to me and my school district. I felt sorry for him because of personal problems and was thinking with my heart instead of my head. It caused a big problem.
Q: What’s the best thing about your job?
A: Making decisions that can have a positive effect on children and the employees who work for us. I also enjoy the role of deciding who does what. Putting the right people in the right places is critical to an organization’s success.
Q: What’s the worst thing about your job?
A: Dealing with parents who don’t support their children and employees who don’t give their best every day. Lately, financial constraints from budget cuts have been tough to deal with.
Q: The most beneficial course you took in school?
A: Human Relations. In this particular course, I learned a lot about how to deal with, how to lead, manage and motivate students and coworkers.
Q: What would be your dream job?
A: Playing shortstop for the New York Yankees.
Q: Finish this: “On the first anniversary of my retirement” I see myself …
A: … going back to work for a school system that needs my services. When I leave here, I will have retired five times.
Q: What is the one trait an educational leader cannot be without?
A: Honesty and integrity.
Q: What do you see as Albany’s biggest education challenge?
A: To continue to move forward with courage and commitment demanding excellence throughout the organization. The board and staff must work in harmony to develop the necessary strategies for system wide improvement. There is still room for improvement and a long way to go for the system to reach it’s full potential.
Q: What are the biggest changes you’ve seen in education over the past several years?
A: Many children lack discipline and have no respect for authority. We have too many parents who do not support their children and teach them fundamental life skills. On the other side of my job, there are always a handful of employees who are not committed to their job. My dad taught me that you should love your job just as you love your family, your church and your community.
Q: What was the best vacation you ever took?
A: When our children and grandchildren get together at our beach house the 4th of July week for the past 17 years.
Q: Any parting words of wisdom?
A: Tough times don’t last, tough people do. Work hard, work smart and support your good employees and the organization you work for. Combine that with a good sense of humor as school business can be very stressful.