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Jefferson superintendent to retire

By Staff | Oct 17, 2014

It may have been in the works for a while, but Jefferson County Schools Superintendent Susan Wall’s decision to retire effective Dec. 31 will mark the end of an era locally, according to board members who praised her career following that announcement at Monday night’s meeting.

Wall, who has spent her entire professional career locally, said she’d come to this decision due to personal reasons – only sharing it last June with then-president Gary Kable and board member Scott Sudduth.

She made her plans official by giving Sudduth, who is now board president, a letter indicating her retirement date before taking a few minutes to recap some of the high points of her 36-year career that began in 1978 as a seventh-grade math teacher.

In addition to having taught, Wall has served as a guidance counselor, assistant principal and principal before being appointed to her current post in 2008.

“My heart has always been in Jefferson County,” said Wall, who takes pride in living in the same house since she was 9 years old and also having a listed telephone number so she’s easily accessible to local citizens.

And she never had any doubt about a career choice, either.

“I was destined to be a teacher. Even now when someone asks what I do, I always say I am a teacher because that’s where it all begins,” she said.

For the past six years, Wall said she has been honored to “lead, help and support a team of more than 1,400 employees who delivered quality education to more than 9,000 pre-K to 12th-grade students.

Stressing that she was part of a team, Wall said she was especially proud that 96 outside, portable classrooms were eliminated and students placed in traditional buildings that are safer and better for instruction – improvements that affected thousands of students.

There have also been improvements in the county’s student attendance and high school graduation rates, while the dropout rate has decreased, she said.

Construction projects have also been a priority, including major improvement projects at South Jefferson Elementary and Harpers Ferry Middle School, Wall said.

“There’s an old Scout saying about leaving the campgrounds better than you found them, and I hope that’s what has been done here,” she said

Sudduth said Wall’s resume doesn’t begin to do her justice, adding, “These pages don’t begin to capture the nearly four decades of commitment you’ve given our schools and community. We owe you the thanks.”

Kable also stressed her accomplishments, saying that he doesn’t know of any other superintendent who can make the same claims.

“You’re going to be missed,” he said.

Vice president Mark Osbourn praised Wall’s style, saying, “You’ve done it all with class,” while new board members Kathy Skinner and Laurie Ogden also commented on her dedication to the county’s school system and its students.