Year in Review: Change in Stephens Co. School System

As 2014 gets underway, we are taking time this week to look back at the top stories of 2013.

One of those stories was change within the Stephens County School System.

In June, the Stephens County Board of Education voted to hire Sandy Steele as the principal at StephensCountyHigh School, moving him from the administrative offices.

Stephens County School Superintendent Sherrie Whiten said in June she felt that Steele would do an excellent job.

“Mr. Steele has been instrumental in a lot of the initiatives that have gone on in the high school in the last five years,” said Whiten.  “He is very involved in the curriculum.  He is an instructional leader.  I think he is the best choice for all of those reasons.”

Steele said he was looking forward to the opportunity.

Meanwhile at the same time, Steele’s father, Jerry Steele resigned as Stephens County Board of Education chair.

He said that with his son becoming principal, he felt it was the right thing to do.

Steele said he was proud of what the school board accomplished during his tenure.

“The school system, considering that we have had money cut from the State (funding) over the years, is in the best shape it has been, maybe not since I have been on the board, but in the last few years,” said Steele.

In July, the Board of Education named Steve Tilley to serve the remainder of Steele’s unexpired term.

Then in August, the school board elected Dr. Elizabeth Pinkerton as its new chair.

More change was announced to be on the way to the school system next year as in November, Superintendent Whiten announced her retirement effective next March.

Whiten said in the announcement that it is time to pass the leadership torch, but added she has been blessed with an extremely rewarding career in Stephens County.

“I have been blessed beyond measure with the school system,” said Whiten.  “You just hit a point where you decide where you want to look at something else and slow down a little bit and that is my goal.”

The school system also changed finance directors twice during 2013. 

Annah Dodge resigned suddenly in February and Justin Beecher was hired to replace her in March.  However, he resigned in October and the school system hired Misty Cleveland to fill the post later in October.

For more on other top stories from the last 12 months, tune in to AM 630 WNEG’s “Year in Review” news program.

It will air again Friday at 4:30 p.m.