Newton County School System school officials, employees and members of the community stopped by the Newton County Board of Education building Tuesday to thank outgoing superintendent Gary Mathews for his years of services as an educator and with the NCSS, and the new superintendent of schools was sworn in shortly after.
Colleagues and friends said their goodbyes during the drop-in reception held from 4 to 6 p.m. for Mathews, who is returning to Louisiana for his retirement. Visitors presented Mathews with gifts, cards and appreciation plaques as they enjoyed refreshments.
Mathews, who has been superintendent in Newton County Schools for the past three years, said, leaving a 38-year long career in education is bittersweet.
“Saying goodbye is hard for me,” Mathews said at the reception as he began to get a little teary-eyed with a smile. “Thank y’all.”
Mathews previously said that he is pleased with the progress made by the school system and is happy to be leaving on a positive note, and is looking forward to spending much-needed time with his family.
After the reception, Samantha Fuhrey was sworn in by Newton County Superior Court Judge Samuel Ozburn as the next superintendent of Newton County Schools at 6 p.m. Fuhrey, who also attended the reception said she is “excited” to take on the new role.
At the May 14 BOE meeting, the board voted 3-2 to approve Fuhrey as its next NCSS superintendent, with board members Jeff Meadors, Shakila Henderson-Baker and BOE Chair Abigail Coggin voting yes, and Almon Turner and Eddie Johnson opposing the motion.
Fuhrey’s contract was approved in a 4-1 vote and signed at the May 21 board meeting. Johnson voted against approving Fuhrey’s three-year contract, and did not sign it.
At Mathews’ last Newton County Board of Education meeting last night, Mathews was honored with a resolution from the BOE and a painted portrait, which will be displayed at the BOE building.
He and his wife Patricia will move back to Louisiana on Thursday. Fuhrey will officially take office on Monday, July 1.