Dear First Baptist:
On January 22, 2019, our Weekday Preschool Director, Janis Rule, submitted to me her letter of intent to retire effective the end of this school year. In this letter she writes:
Happily, my son and his family have returned to this area after being away for five years. Due to their close proximity to Waynesboro, I am joyfully anticipating being able to participate in many activities in the near future as a grandparent. As much as I love being part of something as special as First Baptist Weekday Preschool, I cannot miss anymore opportunities to be available for my grandchildren.
Needless to say, we will miss Mrs. Rule.
As an early childhood educator for over thirty years, Mrs. Rule’s expertise and opinion mattered instantaneously. We have made significant physical upgrades and purchased needed learning tools for the teachers and kids thanks to her vision. Our students’ educational experience is better because of her expertise.
I know for me, as one of the pastors and a parent in the program, it has been an absolute pleasure working alongside Mrs. Rule. In just two, short years, she instituted a new curriculum; moved enrollment to full capacity with a waiting list; generated tons of goodwill between teachers, parents, the church, and the community; and, most importantly, she expanded all of our understandings of what it means to see and love a child. She is amazing at making children feel seen and loved. She’s equally good at making us parents feel competent and hopeful.
As sad as it is to think of Mrs. Rule not waiting at the door in the fall to welcome our kids, her presence will be felt throughout our school days. It would not shock me if in five years we are still pondering how Mrs. Rule would handle whatever situation is in front of us. She has had that level of impact on us all.
There will be time in the near future to celebrate and thank Mrs. Rule more formally. An announcement will be made soon on how you can show your appreciation to her and all the staff. I am also working with the leadership of the church to name a Search Committee for a new Preschool Director. We will vote on this committee at our next quarterly business meeting and then begin interviewing.
Please be in prayer for our church leaders who are tasked to find the next Janis Rule. We have certainly come to appreciate and expect a certain level of love and ethic for this position; and we, with the Lord’s help, will seek to find the next person called to this wonderful ministry.
Peace & Joy,
Rev. Barrett Owen, Senior Pastor