Moving to TKA

I spent 10 years as the band director at Lynchburg Christian Academy (LCA) and felt that it might be time to leave. The King’s Academy (TKA) had expressed some interest in me. But, was moving to West Palm Beach, Florida my next step.

The Courtship

My inquiry regarding the TKA job was met with an immediate, positive response. But I wasn’t serious about moving. Mostly, I was enjoying the courtship process. It’s always nice to be wanted. I thought I put an end to the courtship when I indicated that I would have to see the school before taking the job. No private, Christian school would ever pay to fly someone in for a job interview, right?

I was wrong. TKA sent word that they would pay all of my expenses to travel to South Florida. But, I had to assure them that I was truly interested in taking the job. I had to decide if I was really serious.

It’s one thing to flirt with a new opportunity, it’s another thing entirely to uproot your family and move over 800 miles away. I spoke with my wife, Brenda. If she was against the move, I would end this flirtation and go on teaching at LCA. She said that she was not against the move and it was up to me.

I sent the message indicating that I was serious and TKA sent a plane ticket.

First impressions

TKA has money. There’s no doubt about it. They flew me out of our Lynchburg airport and I was picked up at the Palm Beach International airport by the TKA director of development. (The guy who goes around getting donors to give money. LCA didn’t have that position.) The van looked brand new and had the school’s name stenciled on the door. Again, we had nothing like this at LCA. It was impressive.

I toured the campus and everything looked beautiful. The most outstanding things about the facility were the large band room, the stage and the pristine athletic fields. Serious money was invested into making the campus look great.

I also met the fine arts department head. He seemed a bit distracted. They were getting ready to perform the musical, Beauty and the Beast and everyone was excited. I thought that was nice, but I wasn’t impressed. Musicals weren’t my thing. (This would come back to haunt me.)


TKA had three band director positions. I was interviewing for the lead director of the high school. They had an elementary band director and an assistant band director as well.

I spoke with the men that I would be working with and immediately liked them. The elementary director had numerous years of experience and the assistant director was young and enthusiastic. The assistant director was a percussionist, which I loved. I’m a brass player and I didn’t want to work with percussion. I also didn’t want to teach beginning band. Two big plusses

Location, location, location

Sounds perfect, right? Well, believe it or not, I’m not a big fan of Florida. I like the mountains, not the beach. I like hiking, not fishing and swimming. And, my Dad summed things up when he said, “Eric, you don’t like the heat!”. True. I tolerate it for marching band, but I’m not excited about laying at the beach or pool. I don’t like recreational sweating.

And then there is West Palm Beach. While chatting with the assistant director, he said they once heard gunshots coming from the community near the school! Gunshots!

Who’s in control?

I checked into my hotel that evening and turned on the local news. There were numerous stories of drug arrests, assaults, theft and even murder. This wasn’t what Lynchburg news sounded like.

My thoughts went to my two young children and wife. Will my family be safe here?

After watching the news broadcast and hearing that violent crime could be a block away from the school, I decided there was no way I was taking this job. I wouldn’t be able to protect my family.

It’s important to note that my faith in Jesus Christ is central to my life. I believe that He will guide you if you pay attention.

I sat on the edge of the bed and felt like God spoke into my heart. “So you have been taking care of your family in Lynchburg? You’ve been taking care of them on your own and now you are concerned that you won’t be able to continue to protect them?”

My response to this prompting was, “Well, … no. You have been taking care of my family in Lynchburg, not me.” I felt as if he responded with, “So, I can take care of you in Lynchburg, but not in West Palm Beach? You think that will be too difficult for me?”

I got the message. I would not rule out this job based on a negative news broadcast. God can protect me and my family anywhere. Nothing is too hard for him.

Final hurdles

The final hurdles were cleared easily. I was offered a salary that was higher than I had expected and we were encouraged to head west to find a place to live. I immediately liked Royal Palm Beach. There were trees, grass and less traffic.

I boarded the plan for the return flight to Lynchburg realizing that my time at LCA had come to a close. We were moving to Florida.

4 responses to “Moving to TKA”

  1. Eric, we have loved you and your family since the day our son came home and he never stopped talking about his amazing band director and that’s where it all began(and Whitnee too, and let me tell you! You are loved by the Smith Family!

  2. You were the “best” of TKA. Because of your true heart for the students and your evident love of Christ you influenced so many positively. You taught music, but also discipline, focus, patience, teamwork and hard work through your actions. You have definitely positively influenced our family.
    By the way, Joey just returned to the area as a double board certified general and vascular surgeon for Tenet Healthcare.
    He’s affiliated with many area hospitals and has an office in Palm Beach Gardens Medical Center. He is also adjunct faculty for FAU Medical School! It’s great to have him home again. When I think of all the qualities he needed to study to be a good surgeon it is the same list of qualities that you focused on as a band director. I only wish Nick’s experience on the choral side were as positive as Joe’s. I won’t go there – do thank you for all you’ve always done for your students and may God bless you and your family.

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