Four principals from schools across the county are expected to retire pending a decision by the Bryan County Board of Education on Thursday.
According to Bryan County Schools Superintendent Dr. Paul Brooksher, Richmond Hill High School principal Helen Herndon, Bryan County Middle School principal Debbie Hamm, Bryan County Elementary School principal Debbie Laing and Lanier Primary School principal Debbie Newman have announced their retirement.
The retirements won’t technically be official until approved by the Bryan County Board of Education, Brooksher said. The school board is expected to approve these and six other retirement requests during its regular meeting at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at Bryan County High School.
“It’s going to be a huge loss for our organization,” Brooksher said Tuesday. “They are a talented group of folks. Between the four of them, they probably have almost 140 years in public education, so any time you lose that level of experience and wealth of knowledge, it can be a challenge to a school system.”
He said if approved Thursday, the principals’ retirements would be effective Nov. 30 and advertisement for the positions could begin Friday. Brooksher noted the school system won’t rush the hiring process.
“The role of the principal is probably the most important hire that you make, and finding a mid-year principal candidate can be very challenging because sometimes you don’t have the full applicant pool you would have looking for someone at the end of a school year, but we do plan to look,” he said.
Brooksher noted the mid-year retirements might present a challenge to the school system, but he said parents and students won’t see any alterations in school operations.
“The schools will continue to be highly successful, and we will continue to move forward and continue to try and provide everybody with the highest level of support possible as we make this transition,” he said. “We will continue to do what’s best for the kids every single day.”
Bryan County Schools isn’t the only school system in the midst of mid-year retirements.
According to a press release issued by the Bryan County Board of Education, school districts across the state are experiencing an unprecedented number of mid-year retirements due to a change in the Teachers Retirement System (TRS) of Georgia retirement calculations that would decrease retirement benefits for employees of certain ages and income levels by 3 percent.
By retiring by the end of the month, teachers and administrators that fall within certain criteria can avoid the benefit cut.
Read more in the Nov. 14 edition of the News.