County wishes Williams well

For many, retirement is the type of ultimate goal that inspires visions of long vacations and time for passion projects. But for Franklin County Schools Superintendent Gary Williams, the prospect is bittersweet.

“I’m sad today,” Williams said at his retirement reception Sunday. After 35.5 years in education, “it’s going to be hard to quit.”

Williams said he will miss interaction with FCS employees and students. “I love my job and always have. In 35.5 years, I’ve never dreaded getting up in the morning and going to work,” he said. “It’s going to be hard.”

Before being elected superintendent, Williams served in a variety of roles throughout his career, from being a history teacher and coach at Belgreen, to working as head basketball coach and health/PE teacher at Phil Campbell, to serving as an assistant principal and then an administrative assistant and assistant superintendent.

“I’ve enjoyed it. There was nothing else I wanted to do.”

Williams said his most challenging time as superintendent was facing the April 27, 2011 tornado. His voice broke as he spoke of it. “Twenty-eight people lost their lives,” he said. “That was the hardest thing – students and teachers we lost. And then we had to fight to fund the new school because our insurance company depreciated those buildings 40 percent … It was an awful time, really, but I’m glad I was a part of it.”

Williams said key advice for successor Greg Hamilton will be to seek the insight and expertise of teachers and administrators in the system and learn from them.

“They know what to do. They know their jobs, and they do them well,” Williams said.

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