My Story

Life was going great. I was teaching at an incredible high school. I was the founding coach of the boy’s lacrosse team and I recently married the love of my life. Life was good, but I needed a change. Yes, I could coach and teach at that school for thirty years and have an impact, but I wanted something more. Prior to my marriage with my wife, my faith was at a crossroads. I decided I need to press into my relationship with God. This led us to quit our jobs, sell our house and move to Portland, Oregon. A city where we knew no one, but I felt called to go to graduate school, strengthen my marriage, and to have an impact in a new community.

At first, the journey was exciting but quickly changed as within a week I crashed my car into my professors’ parked car. Not a great way to make an impression on a new campus. My wife and I struggled to find a place to worship, and we were transitioning from two incomes to looking for jobs. By October, we were wondering if we were going to stay in Oregon, as we missed our friends, family, and the Midwest. Then in November, friends from Ohio invited us to spend Thanksgiving with their extended family in Oregon. This was pivotal as we transitioned from isolation to community and we began making connections with people, a faith community and a city that would impact us for the rest of our lives.

We spent eight years in Oregon, and we immersed ourselves in the culture and the community, but eventually, we were called back to the Midwest to be closer to our families. I am glad we took the risk to move cross country and I am grateful for how that move has shaped me and has given me more opportunities to have an impact working with people.

Professionally my life has morphed from impacting students in my classroom to running a high school where I impact 1,300 students and 120 staff members daily.

My wife and I recently celebrated 16 years of marriage, our two sons were born in Oregon and are huge Duck fans living in the land of Buckeyes.

My Advice

I believe that having a tribe of people around you is an essential piece to having a significant impact on your community. Now go take risks, and have an impact on your community.


Wow and scary Doug! Quitting your jobs, selling your house and moving across the country isn't something that most people do everyday. As I sit here thinking about what you and your family did, I am just thinking of that whole experience and all the questions and concerns you might have had, especially when you share about the struggles after arriving. The concept of Check Your Game seems to be a constant in your story. You examined your life in Cincinnati, realized you needed a change and then did something about it by moving to Oregon. Then when you arrived and things weren't necessarily going great, even though you were doubting yourselves, you both made a decision to stick with your decision and eventually got over the hump. What I think is the most important and hopefully others will learn from your story, is that it's important to go through life with others and not try to do it in isolation. Lastly, I wanted to say that I've always liked you and Carrie. You both have been role models from what I've seen and am thankful for your humility to share some of your life with others. Thanks again! Gary

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