Changes are coming to the Long County School System in the new year. Long County School Superintendent Dr. Robert Waters is retiring, effective Jan. 31, 2019. Waters’ upcoming retirement was listed on the school board’s Dec. 10 meeting agenda.
The Long County Board of Education named an interim superintendent after reconvening from an executive session Monday evening. David Edwards, the district's chief financial officer, will work with Waters during the transition.
“We needed to move on and we needed to do this together,” BOE Chair Florence Baggs said.
The school board directed Waters to schedule a representative from the Georgia School Boards Association to speak to them at the board’s Jan. 14, 2019 regular meeting about the GSBA’s superintendent search service.
“They take care of all the legal aspects of the process,” Waters said. The outgoing superintendent said he was the result of the GSBA previously assisting the school board. He stressed the GSBA superintendent search service does not include interviewing candidates.
“That’s up to the board of education,” he said.
Baggs recommended the board use GSBA’s search service, saying she would be more comfortable knowing the board would have assistance maintaining legal compliance.
According to gsba.com, “GSBA helps school boards by responding to requests for information, establishing a search timeline, seeking community input, establishing selection criteria, advertising the announcement of vacancy, checking references, providing interview training, facilitating candidate interviews and finalizing the selection process.”
Waters has been an educator for 33 years. He served as superintendent with the school district for more than a decade. Waters’ 3-year contract was renewed in mid-March at a yearly salary of $144,000.
Waters told the Courier he plans to evaluate his options, from full retirement to part-time opportunities.
“I will be 60 in January and I want to spend more time with my two sons while I am able to,” Waters said. “By not retiring, I would continue to miss out on the 3 percent COLA.”
Waters said “it was just time” for him to retire. He said he first wanted to complete construction on the new school building. He said he considers the building of new facilities as a primary achievement during his time with the Long County School District.
As superintendent, Waters oversaw the construction of Long County High School, which opened to students in 2013, and the building that houses Long County Middle School and Geraldine C. McClelland Elementary School which opened to students this past August. A grand opening for the new schools is set for 6 p.m. Dec. 13.
Waters was hired in June 2008. He earned a bachelor’s degree in history and a master’s in education from Georgia Southern University. He has a doctorate in education with a specialty in administrative supervision from the University of Sarasota. The life-long educator has served as a teacher, coach, parental involvement coordinator, Title 1 director, principal and assistant superintendent in Tattnall County schools.
“The transition will be very smooth,” he said. “Long County has an excellent BOE and David Edwards is an excellent choice for Interim Superintendent. We have a very good team in Long County.”