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SCES principal Martin calling it a career this year

Becky Martin has become well-known not only locally, but also statewide for being the principal of a successful Screven County Elementary School.
However by the conclusion of this 2013-2014 school term, Martin will retire from her role as head of SCES.
Martin notified Superintendent William Bland of her decision at 10 a.m. Monday. At the regularly scheduled school board meeting seven hours later, the BOE accepted her retirement request. Martin will fulfill her position as principal through June 30.
Bland said the school system is in its beginning stages of a search for a successor for Martin.
Martin served as a kindergarten teacher at Arnett Kindergarten for the 1981-1982 school year. She then returned in August 1985 as a teacher in the Screven County system.  
She became assistant principal at the elementary school in July 1998 and then was appointed principal in July 1999.
Currently, there are 144 employees at Screven County Elementary with 88 of those certified and 56 are classified for 80 classroom teachers/61 support personnel/3 administrators).
The elementary school has seven grades from prek to fifth and the school currently has approximately 1,180 students enrolled.
“My years with the Screven County School System have been very rewarding,” Martin said. “Over the years, I have seen many changes and through it all our school system has always put students first.
“We are fortunate to have quality educators that are always seeking to challenge children to reach their greatest potential.
“When someone joins the staff at SCES, they become a part of an extended family that surrounds them with caring, laughs with them, cries with them and supports them through the challenges of everyday life,” Martin said.
“I have loved working with the staff, the students and their families. They have blessed me in so many ways.
“I am delighted when the younger children recognize me in the grocery store and are amazed that I actually leave the school. I am proud when we recognize students for their academic achievements and when faced with the challenge of ever increasing rigor on state mandated assessments, our students show increased test scores,” Martin said.
“My heart soars when our veteran teachers mentor our new teachers and both become better educators because of this bond.
“My husband and I have raised our children in Screven County, they graduated from SCHS, went on to graduate from college and now have productive careers,” Martin said. “We are forever grateful for the education provided them by the Screven County Board of Education.”
Educators and administrators districtwide praised Martin for her work at the elementary school and throughout the school system.
“My first year as an assistant principal was her first as principal,” said Brett Warren, principal at the high school. “That’s a long time to principal anywhere.  She’s a good person with a tender heart. I don’t know how she was able to manage that huge school, but she did. Funny, that now makes me the senior school level administrator.”
“Mrs. Martin has been such an instrumental person in the lives of both children and adults in Screven County,” said Screven County Middle School principal Brian Scott. “She has so many great qualities, but her love for children is always shines through. She truly loves and cares for the students and staff of Screven County Elementary School. There are many of us who are better people for having worked with Becky Martin.”
“I have enjoyed working with Mrs. Martin over the last couple of years – she has been a great leader,” said Ryan Reddick, who serves as one of the assistant principals at the elementary school. “She displays a genuine concern for students and is great at promoting a positive school environment.”
“This reply is difficult to write because it was indeed a surprise to hear of Becky’s decision to retire this year and it is coupled with mixed emotions, happiness for her and sadness for the void she will leave at school and in our hearts,” SCES assistant principal Vonncina Kirkland wrote in an email to the Telephone. “She leads by example with a tremendous ability to teach and inspire others to be the best they can be; she will leave tremendous shoes to fill. Becky Martin is a great leader dedicated to our students, the SCES family, and her own family. Becky epitomizes the school vision and ensures that Screven County Elementary is a place where everyone matters, everyone learns, and everyone succeeds!”
Bland, who is out of town on previously scheduled school business, said the process has begun to seek a successor to Martin.
“She will be greatly missed both as a principal in the school system and as a good friend on a personal note,” Bland said. “She has been a great role model in operating a school in what is the best interest of the children.”
Bland said the search for a successor will include the state, nation and within the county.
Recently, the BOE has chosen successors for administrative roles from individuals already employed within the school system.
Scott was an assistant at the high school before he was promoted to principal at the middle school. Jim Thompson was the principal at the middle school prior to being promoted to assistant superintendent.
Bland was the assistant superintendent and then deputy superintendent before becoming superintendent upon the retirement of Whit Myers.
Martin succeeded Myers as the elementary school principal when Myers advanced to superintendent.
“We will advertise the position for a period of time and assemble an interview committee,” Bland said. “That committee would bring a recommendation to me and then I would present it to the board.”
Bland said he would like to have a new principal selected before the end of the current school term, but the year ends May 23 which gives less than 30 days to find and hire a successor.
Additionally, Bland said at this point in the school year, if a person outside the school system, were considered for the post, that person would most likely already be under contract with another school system.
“The goal is to have an announcement before school is out, but the position will remain open until the appropriate individual can be hired,” Bland said.