Adam Womack, the leader of the choral program at Tullahoma High School, will not be finishing the school year, according to school officials.
Womack announced he will leave his position with the district effective March 15 on his Facebook page, along with a detailed account of his reasoning for the decision.
A social media post from the Tullahoma City Public Schools Facebook account only said Womack had decided to “pursue other opportunities,” but Womack claimed the district had forced his hand on the matter.
According to Womack’s March 3 post, the matter began before the current school year, when he was notified by administrative officials that low numbers of choir students meant he may not have a job for the 2018-2019 school year. In Womack’s words, he was “stuck in a limbo state” about his job until May of last year, when he was informed there were enough students registered for the choirs at THS to ensure he would be able to keep his job.
At the same time, he said, the “health coaching business” run by his wife Amy had grown very successful – successful enough that the two were invited to attend a “leadership conference” for their business.
The conference is scheduled to take place right before the Tullahoma City Schools spring break, Womack said, which meant he would have to receive permission from Director of Schools John Carver in order to take a few unpaid days off immediately before the break.
“If a teacher wants to take off the days before a scheduled break, they have to get permission from the superintendent,” Womack wrote.
However, the superintendent denied his request, and Womack was told he “would be considered ‘insubordinate’ and fired” if he went to the conference.
Carver confirmed to The News that Womack had indeed requested some unpaid leave just before spring break and that the request had been denied.
According to Carver, unpaid leave requests are only granted for “special occasions,” such as college graduations, medical procedures, or the military, and Womack’s request didn’t qualify as a special occasion.
“His request didn’t fall into any of those [categories], so his unpaid leave request was denied,” Carver said. “He [Womack] decided that that was more important than continuing to the end of the school year. That’s it.”
Then, Womack said, he had a difficult decision to make. While high school administration officials felt it would be better for his students if he finished out the rest of the year, Womack instead decided to leave prior to the conference date in order to avoid being terminated.
“Attending this conference will be helping my family for the future, therefore I made the decision to resign prior to the trip so that I would not be let go and have a termination on my teaching history,” Womack said in the post.
Womack said the time since making the decision has been “very emotional” and thanked those who have shown him support. He said he “deeply [regrets]” leaving before the school year is completed, but he had to “do what is best for my family.”
News requests to Womack for additional comment went unanswered by press time.
According to school officials, Womack will be replaced with an interim choir director who will finish out the school year.
While substitute teachers are used for short absences by instructors, Womack’s departure would leave an entire quarter without proper instruction, prompting the school to search for a qualified individual to give meaningful instruction to the choir students for the rest of the year.
Erin McCullough may be reached at email@example.com.