The Sterlings (Part 4): Goals – The path is never straight

(If you haven’t read Parts 12, or 3 you can find them by clicking on the number)

Sometimes life gets in the way of your goals. It’s up to you whether the challenges presented by your current situation end up being detours or dead ends.

Amy Sterling knows she’s lucky for many reasons: her beautiful children, Sophie and Sean, her wonderful husband, Travis, and a secure teaching position at a school she really loves.

As seen in Parts 1, 2 and 3 of the Sterling’s story, the family is making strides in bettering their financial habits, including identifying spending patterns, prioritizing savings, and even taking steps to teach Sophie about good money management.

Changing their habits to focus more on saving might have been uncomfortable at first, but Amy and Travis are fortunate enough to have the means to do so and achieve their goals. However, as we’ll see, that wasn’t always the case:


She’d heard whispers of cutbacks. So, when Amy Sterling saw the email from her principal, Mark Roberts, requesting a meeting, her heart skipped a beat. Amy was the sort who hated the slow torture of anticipation, and desperately wished she hadn’t seen the request right before lunch.

Sitting down with a sigh, Amy flashed back to her first year of teaching right out of grad school: she’d always wanted to be a principal and had been elated when, after excelling in her first teaching position, she’d been nominated for a fast-track to achieve her dream. Getting a Master’s in Educational Leadership while working hadn’t exactly been a piece-of-cake but at the time, the recognition had made her jubilant.

Then her district decided to eliminate 54 positions. As a teacher without tenure, Amy was one of the first to be laid off.

They managed to get by without fear of losing their home thanks to Travis’ income. However, her student loans loomed in the future and finances had been tight. For the following four months, Travis worked more hours while Amy spent evenings sending out her resume to other districts, brushing up on her interview skills, and even driving around to introduce herself to principals.

Amy had eventually gotten a position at another school, but it paid less and her new commute was brutal. So she’d kept her ear to the ground for any openings closer to home and even earned certifications to teach additional subjects in hopes of becoming a more attractive candidate. By the time she’d applied at her current school, Amy’s aspirations of becoming a principal had been pushed aside by the appearance of their children, Sophie and Sean.

Now, nearly two decades later Amy realized she had no reason to feel trepidation: she wasn’t new to her school, and she wasn’t going to be laid off. She muttered out loud, “This is ridiculous!” and stood up to walk down the principal’s office, feeling a little like a student in the process.

Amy tapped on Principal Robert’s door and noticed the Assistant Principal, Maya Fenelly, sitting inside. The two looked to be speaking casually and when Mark looked up; he smiled.

“Did your ears burn?” Mark asked as Maya scooted over a chair for Amy

“What’s that?”

“We were just talking about you,” he said. “If you have a minute, we’d like to fill you in.” Amy sat down, grateful she had a cup of coffee in her hands to keep from fidgeting.



Find out what Amy’s principal has to say to her. It may change her career. Read about it here.