Carl saw his professional life as he saw other activities: a set of balances. The balances worked through changing emphasis. If one period of his career involved ministering to spiritual needs, another part had to deal with more tangible situations. These sets of balances should in turn be integrated with leisure and family activities. He felt that seeking balances such as these would not only improve each component, but would make him a better person and lead to a happier life. His life did, indeed, seem to demonstrate that he was right.
Acting as a junior high school principal was not the job he liked most during his professional career, but it was one that he felt needed to be done. The school system in Kenosha had its share of problems, and the 1960s was an era when many of them pushed themselves more prominently into the forefront of public life than they had during the previous decade. The interrelated intricacies of districting, demographics, and racial issues seemed most in need of attention, and he worked steadily, though often quietly, to redress unfair situations for African American students, children from troubled homes, and students with problems which the system tended to ignore or use as political footballs. Though responses could be considerably more angry, the following laudatory letter to the editor of the Kenosha News gives something of the feel of the era, and the position of McKinley at the time. References to choice, boundaries, and quality of schools tend to be code for issues of socio-ecconomics, race, and other fault lines..
Carl saw the job of chief administrator of a troubled school as one that required humility and humor. He, the assistant Principal, Marlyn Walters, and their secretary, Mary Fortino, made something like a pact with each other to diminish stresses and to head off problems that might come from their leadership positions.
Carl's favorite McKinley story may illustrate this. An art teacher referred to all her male students as "Charlie" regardless of what their names might be. One day she said to a student, "bring me that stack of paper in the corner, Charlie!" The student said that his name was not Charlie. This lead to a heated argument between them, and the teacher sent the boy to Carl's office for disciplinary action. When a student arrived in the office under such circumstances, Ms. Fortino had a form for the student to fill out before seeing the principal. After such questions as "Why were you sent here for disciplinary action?" the final question was, "What can you do to keep from getting in trouble again?" The student whom the art teacher sent him provided a practical answer. He wrote "Leave my name be Charlie." Carl said that if he ever wrote his memoirs as a principal, the title would be "Leave my name be Charlie."