Dear TFS Families,

In January, Mike Watson announced his retirement as principal at the end of this school year. Mike joined the faculty in
2007 and has served as a middle school science teacher, middle school assistant principal and, for the past six years, as
principal. We are grateful for the gifts Mike has brought to our school and parish. Being a principal can be challenging
during the best of times, but these past two and a half years have been particularly so. Mike has been a strong and
tireless leader, safely shepherding the school during the COVID-19 pandemic. While we will surely miss his leadership, he
leaves The Franciscan School well positioned academically, and well known for its welcoming, faith-filled educational

I appreciate your patience as we have worked with the Diocesan Office of Education regarding the search process for a
new principal. The Franciscan School is an important part of this community. I am confident we will find the right
candidate to lead the school. We seek an individual who will not only continue our tradition of excellence and build upon
it, but also one who will be a good fit with our Franciscan traditions and values.

Below is a brief summary of the process:
  • The Office of Education (OOE) will post the position on the diocesan website, with the Atlanta province, and
    other job boards and websites. The position will also be posted on our websites.
  • Stakeholder surveys and listening sessions will be held to gather input on desired characteristics for the next
    principal. This information will be used by the OOE and the Search Committee as they screen and interview
  • Preliminary vetting of candidates by the OOE to validate academic and administrative qualifications and
  • The OOE will refer qualified candidates to the Pastor and Search Committee for interviews.
  • Search committee will make recommendations to the Pastor.
  • Pastor makes the final selection.
During the search process, we will balance transparency and the need for confidentiality inherent in a search, providing
periodic updates as appropriate. An integral part of the process is gathering community input on the ideal
characteristics, qualities, and skills most needed in our principal. Your perspective as parents and guardians is very
important to me and will also provide valuable insight to the Office of Education and to the Search Committee as
candidates are reviewed. I hope that all of you will take a few minutes to complete the survey. In addition, I will be
holding listening sessions, which you are also welcome and encouraged to attend.

Survey closes February 25, 8:00pm
Estimated time to complete: ~10 minutes

Family Listening Sessions

Thursday, February 24, 7:00 - 8:15pm in Fellowship Hall
Friday, February 25, 9:45 – 11:00am in Fellowship Hall

I ask for your prayers for all those involved in the search process. I look forward to hearing from you and appreciate your
partnership as move forward in the process. St. Francis of Assisi, pray for us.

In Christ,
Fr. Michael

Additional Search Resources

Principal Watson Retirement Letter

January 10, 2022

Dear TFS Families,

It is with significant sadness that I am informing you of my decision to retire as the principal at The Franciscan School on June 30, 2022 at the end of the 2021-22 school year.   I have the utmost respect for the administration, faculty, and staff at the school, they are a wonderful group of talented and dedicated professionals, but I have found that it is time for me to retire and focus on other aspirations.

On a professional responsibility level, I find the time that is required for this position, not only in the day to day aspects of the position, which are part of the job, but also in the unscripted and accessory responsibilities that have been added or expected of this position, takes away significant amounts of time from my family. I have missed anniversaries, family celebrations, and have had to alter other events in our home life due to demands of my roles here.  COVID pandemic changes for the past nearly two years have also added a tremendous amount of increased responsibility and stress as well. My initial intention had been to retire in 2020 when my youngest graduated from high school, but COVID had changed that calculation.  Now as we look to the end to the pandemic and have moved into the endemic phase, I think we will be much more normal going forward, God willing! It is the right time for me to take the opportunity to hand off the school in good fiscal condition with strong enrollment to the next principal.

TFS has fulfilled her mission for 23 years.  The school has always been self-sustaining, through tuition, endowments and the tithe from the parish, and this fiscal health allows us to not only provide an excellent Catholic education for the lowest cost possible for our families, but permits us to be able to support those who may need assistance receiving that wonderful academic experience. I have been privileged to serve during the formation of the school in 1999 with Father Dan, blessed to send two daughters to TFS from K-8th grade to receive an excellent education, and have been fortunate to work at TFS as a teacher and administrator since 2007.  I am happy with how well the school has progressed during my time here at TFS as a parent and faculty member. I fully credit the wonderful faculty and staff, who are conscientious, thoughtful and dedicated, with the continuous success of the school from its inception, and certainly during the past 15 wonderful years I have been fortunate to work with them. Please continue to offer the great support and deep appreciation you always have for all that the faculty and staff do each day for your children! They are truly a special group of educators.

My greatest impetus is that I feel it is time for me to participate more frequently in the lives of my daughters and wife, and being able to retire at this point in my life is a blessing.  I appreciate the opportunity that I have had in my time here, and wish all of our current and future families, and the school, all my best moving forward. I will always be an enthusiastic supporter of Catholic education, and most especially at The Franciscan School, where faith, academics, and service are the guideposts for an excellent educational environment. I have told Msgr. Clay I am prepared to help in any way to assure the smooth transition of my successor. 

Finally, thank you to all of our families who have, over the years, offered incredible support to not only Catholic education and our excellent school, but to me personally. You and your children are the reason we are all here, and it is a special joy to have served as part of your children’s lives over the years.  I will miss you all!


Mike Watson 
The Franciscan School

Principal Search: Parent Survey Results
Principal Search: Faculty Survey Results