Berkmar High School principal Al Taylor wrote each of his 350 staff members a personal note to mark the holiday season.

A Gwinnett principal’s small act of kindness yields big reaction

Sometimes, we forget how important it is to express gratitude or acknowledge we recognize someone’s effort and appreciate it. A Gwinnett County principal did so in a way that prompted one of the recipients to share it on Facebook.

Teacher Rebekah Cohen Morris described on Facebook how principal Alfred “Al” Taylor wrote each of his staff members at Berkmar High School a warm personalized holiday note, something she had never experienced in her career. Morris is a veteran teacher who began teaching this year at Berkmar, and says the school stands out because “teachers are challenged constantly but simultaneously encouraged.”

Dr. Taylor has been with Gwinnett for 15 years and at Berkmar since 2013. Among the comments to Morris’ post, many from teachers who have worked for Taylor:

-It is my favorite thing that he does. I keep every single card.

-He has been doing this since he came to Berkmar. You are right; his words are always encouraging. It is special.

-He is a pretty amazing principal! He has even done other "jobs for a day" like worked in the cafeteria, custodial, etc., so that he can fully understand and appreciate each employee’s position in the school. Hopefully, the county knows what a gem he is to our students and staff.

-His first year as a principal was at Radloff Middle and I STILL have my Christmas card from him! 

With Morris’ permission, I republished her note on the AJC Get Schooled Facebook page, where it quickly became one of the most well read and shared posts of the year. So, I thought I would also share it here on the blog.  Here is what the teacher wrote: 

I was moved to tears today when I received a card from our principal at Berkmar High School. He wrote each member of the faculty and staff a card with a one-page note, personalized for each of us inside.

There are almost 350 of us.

I’ve never experienced anything like that from a principal.

I can’t even tell you how kind and thoughtful and encouraging that note was.

Thank you, Dr. Taylor, for your leadership and inspiration.

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About the Author

Maureen Downey
Maureen Downey
Maureen Downey has written editorials and opinion pieces about local, state and federal education policy since the 1990s.