After 24 years of teaching and coaching students across Marshall and DeKalb County, Tracy Cheek is hanging that hat up for another.
He has recently accepted a role as principal for Marshall Christian Academy. A position, in all his years, he's never had.
A retirement reception was held in his honor at Douglas High School.
Cheek has spent his last 4 years at Douglas High School. Before that he spent 4 years at Asbury High School and 12 years at Sardis High School. He has also taught at Oneonta and Guntersville.
Asking how the new position came to him, Cheek said, it was really wild.
"About mid-April, I got a text. I was at the Atlanta Braves game with my daughter," Cheek recalled. "The text said the Marshall Christian principal job is going to be open and we think you're the perfect fit. I kind of laughed about it because I was about two weeks with having my STEM finished. I responded a little bit and then that was all I heard for a week."
Cheek said the week went by and then he received a call about the job. Then another
"I thought, okay, this is really interesting," he said. "Why are multiple people calling me. So, I started praying about it. I said, is there more that I am supposed to be doing, Lord? Is there another way I can make a difference in my home and my classroom? I've been in ministry my whole life and even at private schools where you can pray right there in the hallway."
Cheek decided he would send an email to the person who was over the board about the position. He made the decision that if his email was responded to, he would go from there.
"I sent an email at 10:36 a.m. on a Wednesday," he recalled. "At 10:38 a.m., he responded. Two minutes."
Cheek said the next day he was spoken with over the phone. On April 26, he interviewed and things just kept continuing to fall into place.
"By the time I get home to tell my wife what was going on, they'd offered me the job."
Cheek said even though he has never been a principal in his career, he is ready for the challenge and excited for the new school year.
"I've just turned 51, which is still young in the teaching business. I just didn't want to miss an opportunity to do what I'm supposed to be doing and be about my Father's business," he continued. "I've always taught, always coached. I've never been in administration but I have an administration degree. I've worked for 14 different administrators and learned something from each one."
Cheek said he is a strong disciplinarian and people oriented.
"This is an unreal opportunity for me. I feel honored and blessed," he said. "Between my years of teaching and my sports background; i have many contacts that can help bring people in. I believe that who much is given, much is required. I am eager to get to work and make improvements and changes under the direction of the Lord. I want to do what's best for Marshall Christian and those students."
Cheek is a graduate of Albertville High School. For over 20 years, he has served as a youth pastor and leader for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
Cheek is married to Jill Cheek, who works for the Guntersville Public Library.
He has one son, Payton, a senior at UNA and one daughter, Sarah-Elizabeth, a senior at Shorter University.