Worth Co. superintendent, students respond to high school principal’s resignation

Harley Calhoun’s resignation effective June 28

Worth Co. School Board Meeting

SYLVESTER, GA (WALB) - Worth County High School (WCHS) principal Harley Calhoun sent a resignation email to faculty and staff Thursday morning.

Calhoun did not want to comment on why he is leaving the high school.

Melvin Jefferson, Worth County Board of Education member, told WALB that Calhoun will not be working for the school system next year.

Jefferson said board members would take Superintendent Bill Settle’s recommendation to not renew Calhoun’s contract seriously if and when board members bring it to a vote.

Calhoun said he will finish out the school year and will officially leave WCHS in June.

In an email sent to faculty and staff at Worth County High School, Calhoun said:

I want to begin by saying thank you to everyone for the support and prayers my family has received during these last few weeks. I can honesty say that your support has really helped us stay positive. There are no words I can use to describe how we feel about everyone here at WCHS. Unfortunately due to circumstances beyond my control, I have decided to resign as principal at the end of my contract.
Harley Calhoun, worth County High School Principal

The email continued: “I want you all to know that I have enjoyed every minute being your principal here at WCHS. I made up my mind when I got into administration that I would not forget where I came from and the struggles I had/saw as a teacher. I firmly believe that the role of a school administrator is to be the support that the staff needs to be successful and do their jobs effectively. It is my hope that I have provided that leadership to each and everyone of you. Thank you all for the privilege of serving as your principal. I have been truly blessed to have gotten to be part of your professional lives and be part of the success you have made happen here. If you all ever need anything from me, please let me know. Thank you!”

Calhoun also released a statement in response of the support for him from the community:

My family and I are very appreciative of all the support from the Worth County citizens, students, faculty and staff and those that I’ve had the pleasure to be a part of their lives over my 21 years of education.”
Harley Calhoun

Calhoun will have been at Worth County High School a total of three years at the end of June.

BREAKING: Harley Calhoun has resigned as WCHS principal. He will finish out his contract ending on June 30th. I sat...

Posted by Bobby Poitevint WALB on Thursday, March 21, 2019

Settle responded to Calhoun’s resignation in a Thursday statement.

The Worth County school board accepted Worth County High School Principal Harley Calhoun's letter of resignation Thursday. (Source: WALB)
The Worth County school board accepted Worth County High School Principal Harley Calhoun's letter of resignation Thursday. (Source: WALB)

The Worth County school board accepted Calhoun’s resignation, which is effective June 28, according to Settle.

Official statement from Superintendent Bill Settle on Worth County High Principal Harley Calhoun’s resignation.

Posted by Marilyn Parker WALB on Thursday, March 21, 2019

In the statement, Settle said the school district is “committed to providing the best learning environment for all students, which includes ensuring the district employs highly effective employees.”

“As superintendent, I remain committed to recommending highly effective personnel for employment in all areas to make Worth County Schools the best school district in South Georgia," Settle said.

Unfortunately, in this situation, there has been a surplus of misinformation and conjecture that has not left our district in the best of light, however, I am confident we will move forward with positive results. Worth County Schools is greater than any one individual or individuals and our strength is in the many dedicated professionals who are dedicated to teaching our kids every day.
Bill Settle, Worth County Schools superintendent

Settle continued: “We have a great community that supports education like no other community I have lived in over the years, therefore, I am confident we will move forward together and continue to make Worth County Schools great. Myself and the Worth County Board of Education remain committed to ensuring all our schools have the most effective leadership in place to increase student achievement and the district’s graduation rate.”

STUDENTS REACT

What seems like a long fought battle between the school board, teachers and students, finally came to an end Thursday night, after the board accepted Calhoun’s resignation letter.

Five teachers have submitted their resignations as a result of the board’s decision, a teacher who didn’t want to be interviewed on camera told WALB.

The decision left students in shock.

“I feel like all this came out of no where,” said Kendall Evans, a senior who, like many others, has only good things to say about Calhoun.

It’s the actions of his superintendent, Evans said, that causes disarray.

“It really makes people confused and upset because what people don’t understand is these school board decisions are affecting the students,” Evans said.

Kendal Evans. (Source: WALB)
Kendal Evans. (Source: WALB)

Hannah Holton agreed with Evans, her classmate.

“I don’t know, like why is this happening to my school," Holton said. "It’s just very emotional for everyone involved.”

Hannah Holton. (Source: WALB)
Hannah Holton. (Source: WALB)

Evans said: “We have highly effective personnel in the school system right now and he’s driving them away. He is kicking them out the door.”

Evans also addressed the teachers that have given resignation letters.

“Five solid teachers, I mean possible head of departments,” he added.

Holton said there are several people “who are just heartbroken” that Calhoun and the teachers are leaving.

The two students told WALB the fight isn’t over and that they only wish Calhoun the very best.

Tommy Coleman, Worth County school board attorney, said that a list of the non-renewals, renewals and resignations can be provided by the superintendents office on Friday.

A new principal has not been hired, but officials said the interview process will begin soon.

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