‘It’s been an honor’ Shumate says goodbyes at last meeting

Published 10:18 am Saturday, June 15, 2024

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On Thursday, outgoing School Superintendent Dr. Brian Shumate attended his final school board meeting as head of the Troup County School System.

“It’s been an honor to serve with this school district in this community. I’ve been an educator for a long time, as you know, and I’ve been fortunate to be here for five years. I think we’ve done good work,”  Shumate said.

“We have a lot of employees that give a lot to this place every day and I appreciate you and I know this board appreciates you and all the work that we’ve been able to accomplish,” Shumate said. “I do a lot of talking but these folks do a lot of work.”

While test scores relative to the state have admittedly been a struggle during Shumate’s tenure — especially due to COVID — things are trending back in the direction they need to be. 

“I’m walking out of here with my head up and proud of what we’ve done and always look back on this place fondly,” he said.

“We do a very good job of maintaining [facilities] and this board continues to support that. Our academic programs are much improved and our financial system is much improved. We’re continuing to improve all over the place,” Shumate said.

Shumate said that he doesn’t intend to fully retire, noting he might end up back working somewhere in Georgia.

Several school board members voiced their goodbyes during the meeting, thanking Shumate for his service to Troup County.

“I think you came along at the right time for our school system and I think you’ve really been a great leader for our school system,” Board Member Anne O’Brien said.  “The work that you’ve done is very much appreciated, along with all the work from all the people within the school system … Having been a former employee of the Troup County School System I really appreciate all of the hard work that you put in and the leadership you’ve given us.”

“I recognize your passion for education and I recognize your compassion to keep kids first. That’s what’s most important because you can’t do the education if you don’t love kids,” Board Member Ferrell Blair said. “’I’ve seen you interact with kids throughout the school district and outside of the district. It’s good to see that somebody is in a leadership role that really does care.”

Board Member Cathy Hunt said her experience on the school board has been much better with Shumate, noting her first two years were very difficult.

“When you got here, things improved drastically. It was just a complete 180 from what we had before. I’ve known very few people that work as hard as you do in constant motion. [He] takes care of things on the spot. That’s one thing that really impresses me,” Hunt said.

“Being an educator, I see the dedication to public education and students and the systems and how all the stuff that comes together to make a school system work is a huge job, and I appreciate what you’ve done,” she said.

Board chair Brandon Brooks delayed his goodbyes noting Shumate’s work isn’t officially finished until the end of June. New school superintendent Dr. Rachel Hazel takes over on July 1.