On the eve of Jones’ retirement

Published 2:50 pm Tuesday, June 29, 2010

At the eve of my retirement from the Decatur County School System, I’ve found myself and others telling life stories of our journey together.

People’s life stories have always fascinated me, and we all hope to have several chapters that are yet to be written. I’ve come to the conclusion that reminiscing over past events is part of the process of beginning the next phase in one’s life.

It is funny how the chapters of a person’s life can often simply play out without having time to embrace, reflect, or, even at times, enjoy the journey.

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Sometimes it is hard to understand just when one chapter ends and a new one begins. In most cases, we feel great pride and happiness for our accomplishments and triumphs but also regrets and sadness over not achieving everything planned. Yet, time certainly marches on as we feel the uncertainty of where the next chapter will take us.

On June 30, after 36 years in education with 25 of these in Decatur County, my chapter here will come to an end. I have realized that closing the most enjoyable chapter of my life is easier said than done.

I have always loved my profession and have had the opportunity to develop great friendships within the education arena with teachers, administrators, board members, parents and community. Simply saying “thank you” does not adequately describe the appreciation I feel to this community for allowing me to serve as a teacher, coach and administrator.

I have always valued the trust and responsibility I was given in being allowed to lead as superintendent of Decatur County Schools. The accomplishments that I have been blessed to achieve in my professional career were due to the unyielding support of this community.

The Decatur County School System has been very good to me and my family. I hope that in some small way I have made a positive difference in the lives of students, my colleagues, the school system and the community.

It was a priority during my administration to make our school system a place where people enjoyed coming to work.

Watching our teachers and staff give their best each day was as inspiring as it was compelling. As a result, I now have many great memories to take with me. I know that I will miss the daily association with my school family and, even more so, with the close friends that I have developed over the years.

God has blessed me in so many ways. As I move into the next chapter of my life, I can only hope that my future endeavors and associations will be as memorable and satisfying as the ones as an employee of the Decatur County School System and a member of this community.

Sincerely,Ralph D. Jones