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School board should take time to find best fits

The hits just keep on coming for the McDuffie County Board of Education.

Just days after Superintendent Ed Grisham and Maxwell Elementary Principal Hannah Fowler started telling people that they would be leaving the school system, Bill Reese told his staff this would he his last year as principal of Thomson High School.

The school system now faces three high profile vacancies to fill in the next six months or so.

But officials should not rush. Each of these positions -- the day-to-day chief of the entire school system, the captain of the county's high school and the leader of one of the area's most successful elementary schools -- are integral to the success of McDuffie County's schools.

It is comforting to see the school system has already called on the state to help find Dr. Grisham's replacement. It certainly isn't too early to start looking for qualified candidates for the other slots also.

That said, Bill Reese will certainly be missed by both current and former students at Thomson High School. He was reared in McDuffie County Schools and mentored under the tutelage of long-time Thomson High principal Bob Smith. He's been a mainstay in the halls of the school for years and is ready to get to the next chapter of his life.

"I enjoy seeing kids improve and get better," Mr. Reese said. "I enjoy working with teachers, hopefully giving them what they need to get their job done."

In the end, Mr. Reese's tenure has made his mentor -- the man he sits with in the principal's box during football games -- happy.

"Him being a very moral and Christian man, and him having the kids' best interests at heart, I think that is a quality that every principal should have," Mr. Smith said.

It's those qualities that school leaders should keep in mind as they search for a replacement for not only Mr. Reese, but Dr. Fowler and Dr. Grisham as well.

Web posted on Thursday, January 22, 2004

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