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Adkins resigns, cites his health

Oct. 03, 2012 @ 12:00 AM

WAYNE -- The superintendent of Wayne County Schools cited health concerns as the reason he tendered his resignation, effective Oct. 31.

The announcement Gary Adkins said he's been thinking about for a while was officially accepted by members of the Wayne County Board of Education on Tuesday night.

Adkins said he has mulled retirement during the past year, but he pushed to finish his contract, which runs through June 30, 2013. At the very least, he said he wanted to get through the end of 2012 and the special bond election on Dec. 15, in which the school board is asking voters to approve a $32 million bond. Ultimately, the 64-year-old said he didn't want to put his health at risk.

"This job takes a toll on a person," said Adkins, who is in his 11th year as superintendent. He said he came to the decision to retire now after intense discussions with his wife, children and doctors. He also stressed there was no rift with any board members.

Adkins has worked his whole career in Wayne County, teaching at three former high schools before becoming the first principal at Tolsia High School. He then worked six years as an assistant superintendent before becoming superintendent.

School board president Joann Hurley said she would have liked it if Adkins could have stayed on, but she said she understands a person's health is more important. Now, she and the other board members must act with a sense of urgency to find someone who can lead the county in what is one of the most important times for students.

The $32 million bond, coupled with an expected contribution of $20 million from the West Virginia School Building Authority, would build a new consolidated elementary school for Ceredo and Kenova and a Pre-K-8 in Crum. The Kenova project is the county's highest priority, as students are spending their second year in modular classrooms on the old Ceredo-Kenova High School ball fields following the discovery of sinkholes on the former elementary school's property in May 2011.

Without the bond, officials have said they don't know where funding would come from to replace the school.

In addition to Adkins, Wayne County also lost two assistant superintendents to retirement during the summer, and the president of the school board resigned in August to move to a new home out of state. But Hurley said there are plenty of well-qualified people working behind the scenes on the bond who can take the lead in helping the public understand all aspects of the proposal, from the impact on taxes to how the money will be spent.

Adkins also promised to attend bond meetings and be a vocal supporter throughout the rest of the process.

"I'm a voter, too, and I understand all the (administrative and school board) changes," he said. "But it's still about the kids. I live in this county, and I'll do everything I can as a citizen to promote Wayne County Schools so we can continue to be at the top."

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