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Posted: March 8, 2012 9:58 p.m.

Social Circle superintendent to retire

Social Circle City Schools superintendent Bettye Ray will retire at the end of June, ending a 31-year career as an educator and administrator. She delivered her intentions to the board of education at Thursday’s meeting.

 “We are pleased with everything Dr. Ray has done for the school system,” BOE chairman Tim Lemonds said. “We’ve improved our graduation rate under her and she’s meant a lot to the system. She’s leaving on good terms with everybody.”

In December 2010, Ray’s son Lancey D. Ray was charged with the beating death of his 10-year-old stepson in Lawton, Okla. Shortly after, Bettye Ray took care of her two grandchildren and told the board she was determined to continue her post as superintendent.

 “She had discussed (retiring) with me when her grandchildren came into her life and she said was going to try and stay on despite that,” Lemonds said.

Lemonds stopped short of saying whether Dr. Ray’s retirement was fueled by the burden of her son’s case and the caring of her two grandchildren but did say he wasn’t surprised by her decision.

“We understand where she’s at this time in her life and we certainly understand her decision,” Lemonds said.  “She’s been an asset to the school system and she’ll be greatly missed. We wish her the best.”

Ray started her teaching career in the DeKalb County before moving and teaching in Social Circle in the 1980s. From there she moved into administration then eventually leadership and spent time in the Newton County School System as an assistant superintendent before going back to Social Circle as the system’s top administrator.

Lemonds said the board – seven members including himself, will discuss a replacement plan in the coming weeks and that no timetable has been set for a decision. He said he would like to see a qualified candidate with some prior leadership but isn’t dead set on which way the board will go until it’s had a chance to do its due diligence.

“We are going to keep all our options open, but I think we would lean toward bringing in somebody with some standing superintendent experience,” Lemonds said. “That would be my initial thought but I can’t speak for the entire board.”

 

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