An uncommon road traveled to find happiness

From teacher to administration and back to teaching, Mr.Butler has chosen to return to North Cobb High School in order to enrich lives. Mr. Butler says

A.J. Hairston

From teacher to administration and back to teaching, Mr.Butler has chosen to return to North Cobb High School in order to enrich lives. Mr. Butler says “Before I was working but not happy, now at North Cobb, I enjoy what I do.”

Andrew Lubbers, Reporter

North Cobb Economics and Government teacher Michael Butler journeyed all over the metro-Atlanta area, advancing in job positions and looking for the right fit. But when the dust settled, he took a lower pay grade to come back to teach at North Cobb.

“A lot of people say ‘why is anybody voluntarily going to go back and make less money than what they were making?’ well, you’ve got to enjoy going to work everyday,” Butler said.

Mr. Butler began his career teaching and coaching at Harrison High School. It took a long trek for him to realize that the closer he was to students, the more he enjoyed his job.

In 2008, Butler arrived at North Cobb as the Athletic Director. During this initial stint, he formed close relationships with the students and faculty, eventually serving as assistant principal to one of his mentors, Dr. Page. He began interviewing for principal positions and earned the job at Oakwood High School, Cobb County’s alternative school for troubled students, the students who need that extra motivation.

“It really wasn’t the setting that I was hoping for. I wanted to be in a traditional high school with all the things going on with sports, activities, and that sort of thing,” Butler explained

Although Butler did not consider this position ideal, he helped transition the school to the Cobb Digital Academy, which currently holds a five star rating at He also acquired a new perspective on students and the way they learn.

“I was able to appreciate kids that learned in different ways. It really opened my eyes and let me learn about a different kind of school,” he said.

The next year, Cartersville High School had a principal vacancy and recruited Butler for the position. He interviewed and won the job. The career he always wanted was his, but satisfaction evaded him.

“What I noticed is, that job pulled me away from kids. I got more into budgets and adult issues, I knew I wasn’t happy. But I didn’t know where I needed to be. I didn’t realize at that time that the kids were a big part of what I missed,” he continued.

After resigning from Cartersville, Dr. Page allowed Butler to return to North Cobb: this time as a teacher. Although going from administrator to teacher is definitely a hefty adjustment, Butler raves about the students and faculty of NC and truly loves his job.

Butler went on to say, “Do I miss the money? Yeah, but I wouldn’t go back to where I was.”

Mr. Butler uses his new position as an opportunity to make an impact on the lives of his students. He teaches them not just how to perform on a test, but also real world skills.

“One thing I want students to understand is that where you work and who you work for is very important, its not just what you’re doing, it’s who you’re around,” Butler said. “My job, as much as teaching economics and government, is to teach kids to do their very best everyday, and if we all do that, society is a lot better and we’re all more successful.”