Bill Faircloth did not have to think long to answer this question.
If he had to sum up an education career that includes 10 years as principal at Brownwood High School, what would he say?
"It's been a blessing," the 65-year-old Faircloth said in his office Thursday morning, a day after confirming in a brief phone interview that he is retiring at the end of the school year.
"God gave me an opportunity …"
Faircloth has been principal since June 2004, and May 31 will be his last day. Faircloth said he will work briefly for the district for part of the next school year. He said he will work a day a week at the alternative school until mid-November.
Brownwood school Superintendent Dr. Reece Blincoe said he will recommend an internal candidate as the new high school principal at Monday night's school board meeting.
"It's been a good ride," Faircloth said. "I've enjoyed it."
But, Faircloth said, "I'm ready to do something else." That 'something else' won't include leaving Brownwood.
Faircloth, a graduate of Abilene Cooper High School, received a bachelor's degree in education from Howard Payne University. He received a master's degree from Tarleton state University. He and his wife, Suzanne, have two sons and six grandchildren.
Faircloth at one time thought he wanted to be a football coach, but lost that desire after he began attending HPU. "I fell in love with the classroom," Faircloth said.
Faircloth taught for two years at Northwest Elementary in Brownwood, then took a more lucrative job with AT&T. He worked there for 20 years until retiring. He decided to return to education and taught for five years at the Ron Jackson school.
He then worked for a year as principal in the small district in Star in Mills County, and as principal in Rising Star for two years before becoming principal of Brownwood High School.
Faircloth described some of the highlights of his 10 years as principal, including:
• TAKS test — achieved "recognized" status for five out of seven years before STARR test began last year year.
• The school has a 94 percent graduation rate.
• 2004 — bond election
• 2005 — complete renovation of the high school began
• 2009 bond projects were completed. The high school was selected as National Blue Ribbon High School, one of 26 in nation and named Best Practices School, one of nine in Texas. The school earned six Gold Performance Awards in academics.
"The above mentioned accolades are not mine but belong to the best students, staff and teachers in the state of Texas," Faircloth said.
"It has been a privilege and a blessing for the past 10 years to be principal of BHS. I was very fortunate to be associated with the students, faculty and staff at BHS and BISD. I would like to thank the BHS parents for giving me the opportunity to work with their students."
He said he wants to thank Dr. Sue Jones, Jeanna Moss, Leisa Land and Kevin Gabaree for giving him the opportunity to be principal, and credited assistant principals David McCullough, Mitch Moore and Andy Gill for helping make the school a success.
When asked what he sees when he looks at students, Faircloth said, "I see lots of potential. O see people who have the opportunity, if they'll just grab it, to be anything they want to be."
Faircloth, a Sunday school teacher, said God "made a difference in my life." He spoke of his family, saying he was 15 and the girl he went on to marry was 13 the first time he saw her. Several years went by before they began dating, Faircloth said.
"When I fell in love, I fell in love bad," he said.
Faircloth said two dreams he had for his two sons became reality: "to make sure I led them to the Lord and make sure they got a college education," Faircloth said.
The Bulletin's Facebook page received several comments about Faircloth including:
"… You have blessed many and will be missed." — Lisa Jaso
"Mr Faircoth is a great principal, he treats the kids the same and he is like most other principals firm and fair …" — Anita Casey
"Mr. Faircloth is good man. I never heard anything bad about him. Both my grandsons said he his fair man." — Brenda Kinsey
"A good man who loves kids and did a good job. He needs to improve a little as my play-by-play man in baseball, though." — Dallas Huston
"Equally blessed are the students who were fortunate to be under his leadership! He was genuinely concerned about the students and definitely a strong Christian role model! Thanks for your service and commitment to not only BHS but many other organizations in Brownwood!" — Sandy Joyner