Words by Justin Hunter | Photos by Al Blanton
For thirty-seven years, Dr. Mike Morton welcomed his students into the classroom with a kind attentiveness that calms the heart and puts the mind at ease. He now greets potential homebuyers with the same attentive gaze as a realtor at All Four Real Estate in Jasper. The former North Highlands principal, Director of Special Education for Jasper City Schools, and adjunct professor for the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) is enjoying his retirement from public education and his new journey in real estate.
Today Mike is seated behind one of four large desks at the All Four office in Jasper. He wipes down the telephone and desk with a Clorox wipes, taking small but vital precautions during a pandemic. “Every day is different,” Mike says with tenderness. “That’s what is so much fun about real estate.”
The former educator had become disillusioned by the direction that public education was taking in the early 2000s, and he felt the amount of red tape and paperwork was inhibiting his ability to truly educate his students. “I loved teaching, the students, and the faculty, but we spent more time doing legal work instead of teaching. It got to a point, I desired a change,” Mike recalls, thinking back over nearly four decades in the public education system.
Real estate had been on his radar since the 1990s, and he began taking steps to craft a life outside of education. Mike acquired his real estate license before his retirement with the gentle nudging from brokerJames Ann Martin.
“I’ve been here at All Four Real Estate for almost seventeen years, if you can believe it. I’ve enjoyed it and it’s been a lot of fun. All Four is home and I love everyone here. We are like a family,” said Mike.
This family at the real estate agency is made up of many former educators. It’s a kind of second home for the teachers in the county who are looking for that next phase of life.
Real Estate has offered Mike a different avenue to guide the families of Walker County. Instead of assisting young children in the classroom, he now helps clients find to their way to home ownership. His time as an educator helped him to honehispeople skills, something that is necessary to be a successful realtor. Every clients’ needs, wants, and preferences are different—just like the children he helped nurture for close to four decades.
“It pleases you when you make your first sale, because you are helping people,” Mike says. “It’s fun to sell to a young couple or those who’ve never purchased a house, because you feel their excitement.”
Real estate has also afforded Mike, a Jasper native, the opportunity to explore the beautiful landscapes of the region and engrain himself deeper into the fabric of the area. “I’ve been to places in Walker, Winston, and Fayette Counties that I didn’t know existed. I’ve met a lot of great people. Jasper, Walker County, and all of the surrounding counties have some of the nicest people in the world,” Mike says.
Retirement can be the beginning of a new career and an exploration into the unknown. A glorious second wind in the journey of life. Mike Morton’s story provides a beautiful glimpse into what retirement can be. 78