Remembering Manny Caulk
Associate Professor of English at Transylvania University, Lexington resident and educator
When Kurt Gohde and I began work on a collection of photographs to thank Fayette County Public School employees on the last day of the 2019-2020 school year, we knew we would photograph teachers, custodial staff, lunch-room folks, bus-drivers, principals: all the people who care for our kids as if they are their kids. We also really wanted to include Superintendent Manny Caulk in this series, but we didn’t know if he’d be able to make time in his busy schedule for something as non-essential as a picture.
Manny Caulk not only instantly said yes, but graciously showed up for a photograph on his day off, Memorial Day, after asking if we could photograph him and his family in front of FCPS Main Office on East Main Street, rather than outside their home.
Later, he sent us his reflection on a school year that had turned out to be so different from what he and others had planned for. This is what he wrote at the end:
“This ending is bittersweet. Satisfying and uplifting in a different way. I am proud of the many ways our employees have taken care of one another, our students, our families and our community since we closed our doors on March 13. We have learned many lessons, and I believe we will emerge changed for the better. With a stronger resolve to protect the most vulnerable among us. With a greater appreciation for things we have taken for granted. And with a renewed commitment to making the most of the time we have together.”
Rest in peace, Superintendent Caulk. We are so tremendously grateful for the time we had together.
This article also appears on page 9 of the January 2021 print edition of ace magazine.
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