Newton school superintendent to retire in June

COVINGTON -- Newton County School System Superintendent Gary Mathews announced Wednesday that he will retire at the end of the school year.

In a letter to school system employees and the public on Wednesday morning, Mathews said his last day as superintendent will be June 30, 2013. He said he looks forward to spending more time with his family.

"As my twin grandsons, Luke and Ethan, consume much of my attention these days, and as my 83-year-old father and 87-year-old mother-in-law continue to age, it is time for me to reprioritize," Mathews wrote. "Simply put, at age 60 in May, and after 38 years in public education inclusive of 21 years in the superintendency, I want to spend much more time with loved ones including my five grown children."

Mathews began as superintendent in July 2010, after the Newton County Board of Education tapped him through a nationwide search by the Georgia School Boards Association after former Superintendent Steven Whatley retired. At the time, he was given a three-year contract with NCSS that included the salary of $159,400 per year, plus being eligible for insurance and other employee benefits that other 12-month employees receive.

At the time, the school board also reimbursed Mathews $7,500 for expenses incurred in his move to Newton County from Virginia, where he was superintendent of the Williamsburg-James City County Public Schools.

Prior to coming to Newton County, Mathews was superintendent in Virginia for five years and at the time had more than 18 years of experience as a school district superintendent, previously working as superintendent of Carroll Independent School District in Texas, Rockwood School District in Missouri, East Baton Rouge School District in Louisiana and St. Johns County School District in Florida.

He also worked as an assistant superintendent in Texas and Mississippi. He began his education career in 1976 as a high school teacher at JFK High School in New Orleans, La., and also has experience as a high school principal.

In May 2011, the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education considered Mathews as the state's superintendent of education.

After retirement, Mathews and his wife Pat plan to return to Louisiana, where most of his family resides, he said later Wednesday in a response to questions from the Citizen.

"As of now, I have no full-time employment in mind," he said. "However, though I am not certain at present, I may work part-time in some capacity be it in education or in some adjacent field."

Mathews said he will assist in the transition brought on by his retirement, but in the meantime, he will continue to work on assisting in the education of more than 19,000 students.

"Academically, we have our public schools positioned to continue the upward achievement of our students as seen over the past three years," Mathews wrote. "Our emphasis on high probability instructional strategies, building student background knowledge, integrating technology in classrooms and the establishment of professional learning communities is the right course which will, I believe, long outlive my time here. Each is right for our children and will be relevant as long as we have students to teach. This emphasis is research-based best practice and transcends any person in any position."

The Newton County Board of Education plans to meet with a representative from the Georgia School Boards Association on Dec. 18 to discuss its next steps to find a replacement, according to school board Vice Chair Jeff Meadors.

Meadors said that he understands that Mathews can make a recommendation for his successor, which the board may or may not accept, and also that the Griffin Regional Educational Service Agency can provide a superintendent search free of charge. GSBA also offers a superintendent search, but it could cost nearly $9,000, plus providing travel for candidates and other expenses, Meadors said.

For the next superintendent, Meadors said, "Particularly given the concerns about student achievement, I would like to see someone with a proven track record and longitudinal data where they have turned around student achievement ... linked directly to their leadership. I want someone who isn't focused on minimum competencies ... (and) focused on all students."

He also wishes for someone to help teach students self-reliance and introduce more critical thinking skills in the primary and early grades, as well as someone to boost the morale of teachers, he said.

"(Teachers) do not feel like they have a voice," Meadors said. "We have some outstanding school leaders, but we don't have enough of them."

He added that he is just one person with one vote and can't speak for the board, but at this time, he isn't interested in spending taxpayer money for a superintendent search just three years after another one was completed, hoping instead to get a recommendation or use the free Griffin RESA search.


Satan69 3 years ago

How much money did taxpayers pay for school board attorney for LaQuanda Carpenter's lawsuit? Give it to us on the up and up Eddie Mr. Chairman.


henrystamm 3 years ago

Hopefully they get some3one better for less money, also I hope that we are not paying that guy exuberant retirement money. But this undereducated board probably gave away the kitchen sink.


MissLoy 2 years, 12 months ago

Carpenters must go! They violate Policy GAG.


Billy 2 years, 12 months ago

There's too much drama in the Newton Schools. A person like Matthews just wants to preside over a sedate, quiet school system that doesn't need much help. LOL, did he get the wrong job. Not sure who would want this position after all the nonsense of the last year. The only person who would apply for and get this job would be someone who is totally ignorant of what's going on here, or someone who fits a certain profile. Don't want to explain it past that point, but considering the joke that this school system is, absolutely nothing would surprise me...


OnToday 2 years, 12 months ago

Remember, this is the same guy who claimed his aunt contacted the Louisiana people and sent his resume when the state superintendent position was open there. Are you kidding me? Your aunt sent in your resume? Please. He has wanted to bolt out of here for a while. He showed no backbone during the Carpenter mess and showed us how wimpy he was when he claimed his aunt was sending resumes out for him. Good riddance.


FormerNCSSTchr 2 years, 12 months ago

Like Billy said, Mathews did not know what he was getting into when he accepted this position. For the past two years, he done talked a whole lot of bs about how NCSS is improving. Hogwash. He has been trying to convince the public, parents and the students that the system is improving. Test scores are increasing? Phooey. Bet a dime and a dollar, he will be wooing some other school system as a potential Sup. Still looking for that quiet sedate system, huh. We need to ask ourselves, What did Mathews do to improve NCSS? Not a dang thing.He had one heck of a smoke and mirror show.


dennistay53 2 years, 12 months ago

With the current makeup of the BOE make a guess as to who will be the next Super. Probably will be another one going outta the park.


dennistay53 2 years, 11 months ago

I look for them to give D Carpenter the job


MamaTurd 2 years, 12 months ago

does the covington news reporter EVER have an original story? she wrote her newest article point by point from miss floyd's article right here and they always do this - sort of means we don't need the covington news and i hate the way they interject their biased emotion into stories - journalism school did not teach them that - immaturity did - go away.


NoSPLOST 2 years, 12 months ago

Taxpayers should not trust NCSS with a SPLOST penny. VOTE NO ON SPLOST MARCH 19th. Make this system live within their means. There are too many oversights and problems that cost us money, Ombudsman opening, Airport Road mess, delay after delay after delay at NCCA opening, stadium lights overlooked at the new NHS, allegations of many clubs missing money at Alcovy High - until LaQuanda Carpenter repays all monetary losses to all taxpayers for Kent Campbell's services and all others who lost money VOTE NO ON SPLOST. Her suit was frivolous from day one and she knew she had much to lose so when the hounds came sniffing she dropped it and WE PAID as taxpayers. You don't poop on us and charge us to clean it up.


suerprincipal 2 years, 12 months ago

One down. LaQuanda, Dennis, to go!


Chambermaid 2 years, 12 months ago

Dennis Carpenter should not be in charge of so much. He has made costly mistakes at taxpayer expense while using his wife to sue people. I do not trust him with SPLOST vote NO.


Sign in to comment