Columbia County Superintendent Charles Nagle (WRDW-TV / Jan. 9, 2012)
News 12 First at Five / Thursday, July 26, 2012
EVANS, Ga. -- After six years in charge, Columbia County's superintendent is stepping down, retiring to spend more time with his family.
Charles Nagle announced to his principals Thursday that this upcoming year will be his last as superintendent. Even though he's been thinking about it for some time, he says it was still a tough decision to make.
After 37 years as an educator, mentor and leader, Nagle is ready for his next chapter in life.
"It's been a long, very rewarding career," he said.
He's spent the last 23 years with Columbia County Schools and on Thursday, he announced his plans to retire at the end of this school year.
"To be quite honest with you, was not prepared for their emotions," Nagle said.
"He has put in his time, he's given so much to the community, but I think it was a shock just because now there's the unknown for our school system and the vision and the leadership of what's to come," said Tom Smallwood, Grovetown Middle School principal.
"I just felt like this was a good time, a good time for me personally, and I feel like we're in a good place where the system is concerned," Nagle said.
Although it's been in the back of his mind for a while, the 62-year-old says the decision was tougher than he expected.
"It's been a very emotional decision," he said.
It's been a long road, but it hasn't always been an easy one.
"What you say has been the biggest struggle?" asked News 12's Katie Beasley.
"I think the economy," Nagle said. "We've made a lot of improvements, but we've had to do it on a very shoestring budget."
A few things he's proud of are looking out for teachers, maintaining a growing district that continues to expand and protecting the integrity of a 180-day school year.
"I'd like to thank this community for having trust and providing that trust in me to help lead this school system and be a part of something that really is great," Nagle said.
And many people will be sad to say goodbye.
"He's a good man and he's a strong leader for our school system," Smallwood said.
"I couldn't ask for anything better. I couldn't think of anywhere to spend 23 years than where I've been," Nagle said.
"It is bittersweet because we hate to see him go," Smallwood explained.
There's no word on a replacement just yet. Nagle says he hopes the board elects one early next year so they can be a part of the budget process. He promises to work hard and not be a lame duck superintendent until he steps down in June.
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