Dear TMS Families,
I hope this email finds your family well.  It is hard to believe that we are nearly half way through the school year and we have already accomplished so much.  We have successfully launched our reading shifts initiative, executed a very successful Boosterthon campaign, completed some upgrades to our playground, and fielded playoff caliber athletic teams.  Our staff and students continue to show each day what makes The Museum School such a special place.  I could not be more proud of the work that we are doing together.
It was 16 years ago now that I left corporate America and decided to become an educator.  My goal at that time was to make an impact.  I viewed education as the largest civil rights movement of our day at the time, and set a goal of improving educational opportunities for students in Atlanta and the surrounding area.  Since making that decision I became a proud alumnus of Teach for America where I raised fourth grade math scores by over 20 percentage points and was recognized as a Fulton County Teacher of the Year, joined a founding staff of educators who created one of the top performing middle schools in the city of Atlanta in KIPP STRIVE Academy while also being recognized as an Atlanta Families Award for Excellence in Education recipient, founded the first and only charter school of Fayette County in Liberty Tech Charter School, and since 2014 had the distinct privilege of serving The Museum School of Avondale Estates as both the assistant principal and most recently your principal.  Throughout these 16 years I have known that there would come a time when I would step away from the school setting. After much prayer and consideration, I have decided the time has finally come.  After the conclusion of this school year, I will be relinquishing my post as principal of The Museum School believing that I have been able to create incredible educational opportunities for the students and families I have served in my career.
I am so grateful for all of my education experiences, but there is a special amount of gratitude reserved for The Museum School. This community is one of a kind with incredible students, staff members, and families.  It is very rare to find a place where everyone is so committed to the success of their school.  I would like to thank you for all the encouragement, grace, and support that I have personally received over the last four years.  I would like to give a special thank you to Dr. Katherine Kelbaugh for bringing me on board as a new assistant principal and mentoring me for the last 10 years.  Much of the leader I am today is due to her tutelage.  I will always cherish her guidance and our friendship.  I would also like to thank our TMS governing board members, both present and previous, with which I have had the pleasure of working.  It is a significant blessing as a school to have such talented, involved, caring, and professional leaders.  Finally, I would like to thank our amazing staff members.  These individuals are so special to me.  We have navigated all the emotions that come with being in a school, and we have done it together.  As I reflect on my time with everyone at The Museum School, a simple thank you simultaneously doesn’t feel like nearly enough and completely summarizes my biggest emotion.  It has been an honor to serve you as your principal.
So, what’s next?  I will remain in the principal role for the duration of the school year.  Very shortly, however, the school will begin the search for a new principal.  The search process is outlined below for your reference. 
As for my future plans, they do not include going to another school.  In fact, I will be leaving the education profession altogether.  Since June I have been serving as the interim student pastor at my church on a volunteer basis.  I have been asked to take on that role full time at the end of the school year.  The role of pastoring seventh through twelfth grade students is an amazing intersection of a lot of skills and passions for me, and one that I am very excited to explore.  Regardless of my future, The Museum School is still my present, and I will continue to give our community everything that I have for the remainder of the school year.
Thank you again so much for everything.  It has been a blessing and a joy serving you all.

Dear Families, 
It is with mixed emotions that I share with you our recruitment plans for attracting and hiring a new principal for The Museum School. Mike’s departure will be a huge loss for our school community and for the greater field of education. While I am excited for him as he explores new opportunities, I can tell you that his presence will be greatly missed.
Thinking about Mike’s time at The Museum School, as you already know, Mike is willing and ready to do ANYTHING for the success of our students and school. From climbing to the top of new playground equipment to check for exposed nails to mopping up leaks and spills, he is a leader who is present, accessible and engaged. In the classroom, Mike's excitement for students and learning is admirable. He loves kids and watching exemplary teaching and learning is a true passion for him. Mike is a strong leader and is masterful at making tough decisions, all with students’ best interest at heart.
As you are aware, Mike led The Museum School’s staff and students through extraordinary challenges over the past few years, challenges unlike anything a principal is prepared for or deserves to face. Despite this difficult and complex time, he remained positive and student-centered in his actions and decisions. Undoubtedly, his contributions will forever influence and impact our school. 
As we look ahead, my number one priority as Executive Director of The Museum School is to find and prepare the best possible candidate for The Museum School’s principal position.  We are moving quickly to ensure we find the best candidate before they commit to another school. The timeline below outlines some of these steps. I will keep you all updated as we move through the process.
On behalf of the board and staff, we wish Mike all the best as he explores new passions and engages in new adventures. Thank you for your trust and support as we work diligently to hire the best principal candidate for our school.
Katherine Kelbaugh, Ph.D.
Executive Director

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