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Jones to retire June 30

Decatur County School Superintendent Ralph Jones announced his retirement on Wednesday.

He said the effective date will be June 30.

“I have spent 36 years in education, and I have had the pleasure of being employed by this school system for 25 of those years, Jones wrote in the letter that was addressed to the school board system’s employees.

“Eighteen years were spent in a leadership capacity, but the last eight years as superintendent have been the most challenging, yet rewarding, in my career.”

Jones, who had a successful career as the head football coach for the Bainbridge High School Bearcats, leading them to a state championship in 1982. He was 29 years old at the time.

He left Decatur County for Cairo High School and led the Syrupmakers to a state football championship in 1990.

He won more than 200 games as a football coach for both Bainbridge and Cairo. He was a graduate of Cairo High School and a alumnus of Florida State University, where he played football there too.

He returned to Bainbridge as principal of the high school until he was promoted to superintendent when Leon Pate retired.

“This decision has been very difficult for me because I truly love educational leadership and have a great passion for working with people,” Jones said.

One of Jones’ biggest accomplishments was the successful completion of the new Bainbridge High School and to complete reorganization of the school system, which was perhaps the most significant reorganization since the 1970s integration.

“I am very proud of the accomplishments that we have made together during my tenure,” Jones wrote. “I realize there is a tremendous amount of work that must be done in the upcoming months, and I promise to work very hard to do the best I can in leading this school system until my retirement.”

Jones said in closing his letter, “I wish each of you much success, love and peace. Always keep the passion that you have for working with your students because you have the most important job in America. The future is in your hands.”