McDuffie County's schools took a one-two punch to their leadership ranks this week.
First, Maxwell Elementary Principal Hannah Fowler announced that she was taking a job with the state and would be stepping down in March as principal at Maxwell Elementary, pending the OK from the school board.
Dr. Fowler has been at the helm of the school for seven years, guiding it to national recognition as a Blue Ribbon school. She's a strong leader, creating camaraderie among her teachers and students.
Maxwell Elementary and McDuffie County are the better for her service. Now the State of Georgia will reap her benefits, while local school officials are faced with the daunting task of replacing the longtime leader.
And they are already working on replacing another school leader.
Ed Grisham is retiring at the end of school year and school board members have already asked for state guidance in finding his replacement.
Dr. Grisham's legacy is simple: He's helped make students and parents proud of McDuffie County schools. Incorporated in that legacy are higher test scores, improved facilities and better leadership.
Part of the secret to Dr. Grisham's success is his interaction with local teachers. As part of his weekly duties, the superintendent pours through newspapers, cutting out any piece of news related to the school system. He laminates the article on a piece of school system stationary and writes a short note to the faculty member featured. It's a small gesture, but one that shows the top Dog of the school system is proud of the great things being accomplished.
Dr. Grisham will certainly be missed, but there's good news. Certainly, Thomson's favorite Elvis impersonator won't really be gone once he's left the building. After all, the retired educator's wisdom will just be a phone call away.