My friend Jerry Gaither was a county superintendent of schools when it was an elected position, subject to the whims of electoral politics. He also served during a time when folks here in Tennessee were dealing with significant issues relate to racial integration. Jerry learned a lot as an administrator, challenging him to grow as a believer.
Several years ago, Jerry shared with me one sheet of paper he entitled “Decision Making: An Administrator’s Ethics Test.” I provide it here for your consideration.
1. Will I be violating board policy, the law, or the rights of others?
2. Is it equitable? Can I sit down around a table and face all parties concerned at the same time? Does it promote wholesome relationships? Can I look in the mirror and feel good about myself?
3. Is it explainable? By this I mean, is it explainable in a clear and concise manner that the general public can understand?
4. Will it leave me with a clear conscience? Will it make me proud? Will it stand the light-of-day, tomorrow as well as today? Would I feel good if my family knew about it? Could I kneel in my bedroom and pray, “Dear Lord, I have done my best; give me what I deserve”?
These are simple but profound questions. Jerry’s words remind me of those that Shakespeare puts in the mouth of Polonius: “” They are a challenge to me to be wise in both personal and public decision making.