After 35 years with Dothan City Schools, Superintendent Dr. Sam Nichols announces his retirement.
Although many of Dr. Nichols colleagues weren't shocked by the news, they were surprised at the timing of the announcement.
But, Dr. Nichols says he was waiting until it felt right.
"All of us on the board get along very well and we want Dr. Nichols to be very happy. He worked his way up from Assistant Principal to Superintendent," said Chairman of Dothan City Schools, Harry Wayne Parrish.
“I felt it was a good time to leave the system even though we're still struggling financially," said Nichols.
In June, the Dothan City School Board cut nearly $6 million from its budget, yet they were still far from their goal.
Still, student achievement scores have increased and enrollment over the last 5 years has also increased by 500 students.
"We're making progress as a school system and I'm tremendously proud of that. I want that to continue with the next superintendent coming in," said Nichols.
Although Nichols will not relinquish his position until July, his colleagues are beginning to take the necessary steps to find his successor.
"We're looking for someone who can work with people and can work with teachers. We feel like we can find somebody but it's going to be hard. It's a tough job," said Parrish.
It's a tough job, but a tougher selection process.
The city school board will meet with the Alabama School Board Association within the next few months to get approval for the application process.
Parrish-"I will communicate with all the board members about what's going on and then we'll go from there."
Parrish is still undecided on whether to form a committee to search for the next Superintendent or to let the board appoint his replacement.
Principal Tamika Fleming of Grandview Elementary was hired by Dr. Nichols; she says it will be hard to replace him.
"Dr. Nichols is an extraordinary leader who allows his followers to contribute to extraordinary things happening in Dothan City Schools,” said Principal Fleming.
As for Dr. Nichols future...
"I don't really have any plans at this point," said Nichols.
Dr. Nichols will not take part in the search for his successor, but he says he will assist as much as he can.
Nichols will leave his position in July, which is 6 months before his employment contract expires.