“I’m going to trust you until you give me a reason not to; and, I ask that you trust me until I give you a reason not to.”
That was the start of the first real, face-to-face conversation Dr. David C. Mosely and I had after he was appointed interim superintendent back in 2013. I’m proud to say that, from that time until he went to be with the Lord last weekend, I never gave him a reason not to trust me, nor did he ever give me a reason not to trust him.
More than 30 years my senior, Dr. Mosely was, in many ways, part of the old school. He was often unfiltered but was committed to giving you his very best; and he, in turn, expected your very best. While he believed in hard work, he also balanced that work ethic with a zeal for life, travel and family. When he wasn’t at work, he could be found either traveling with his wife, June, or working on his farm.
I met him during a turbulent time for the district. We needed a leader with experience, resolve, integrity and courage. We got that in spades with Dr. Mosely.
During his tenure, the district made great strides. Graduation rates shot up, student achievement increased, our fiscal standing improved, and the overall perception and reputation of the district started trending in the right direction.
He and I didn’t always see eye-to-eye — we disagreed on and debated a handful of issues — but we always managed to find common ground because, at his core, Dr. Mosely was a master at building consensus.
Never was this more evident than when we looked to him for his leadership and support to get what would become the Commodore Conyers College and Career Academy off the ground. The idea had already been voted down once, but Dr. Mosely managed to rally support and build a team of community leaders to endorse the concept and then commit themselves to getting it through the bureaucratic hurdles and across the finish line.
Just a few days before he passed, that college and career academy that he had worked so hard to bring to fruition was named the state’s 2021 College and Career Academy of the Year. On what would be our last visit together, I shared the good news with him as he lay in his hospital bed, unsure of whether he could hear and understand what I was saying. But sure enough, he perked up just a little, which gave me reason to believe that maybe, for one last, fleeting moment, he had been given one final reason to be proud of his former district.
Butch died at home just a few days later.
Although I will miss him tremendously, I’m grateful for the years God saw fit to take a simple man from Harris County, Georgia, and a teacher from Climax, Georgia, and, as different as they were, to bring them together as friends and also use them to make a difference in the lives of students in Dougherty County.
While it is true that I have lost a mentor, colleague and, most of all, a friend, I am a better leader because of the influence he had on my life. I am a part of his legacy, just as the countless others whose lives he impacted.
Thanks, Butch. Until we meet again: “I’ll see you when I see you.”