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What’s next for Sumter Co. Schools as top educator steps down?

Acting superintendent named
Published: Aug. 13, 2021 at 7:11 PM EDT
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AMERICUS, Ga. (WALB) - Dr. Torrance Choates issued his resignation at Thursday’s monthly school board meeting.

The Sumter County School Board thanked him for his service and accepted his resignation.

His official last day is June 30, 2022.

“I’ve been praying and thinking really hard about my position as superintendent in Sumter County, gave it a lot of thought, and I decided to not seek a contract extension renewal,” said Choates.

Choates expressed gratitude to the board for his almost six years of service.

“I really appreciate the opportunity to serve you and I want to thank this board of education,” he said.

Dr. Torrance Choates issued his resignation at Thursday’s monthly school board meeting....
Dr. Torrance Choates issued his resignation at Thursday’s monthly school board meeting. (Source: WALB)

He stated “personal reasons” for choosing to leave the position. He also said it’s a tough time to be in the role, though that’s not why he’s resigning.

“I think every principal and superintendent is going through a lot of pressure right now dealing with this COVID pandemic. No matter how you look, there’s a lose situation. Because we have to make so many tough decisions with the COVID and there is not a right or wrong in this, it’s someone’s perception on how they think things should be done in the COVID,” Choates said.

Masks mandates, vaccines and virtual versus in-person learning have been debated in schools throughout the country.

Associate Superintendent Walter Knighton is now acting superintendent. He’ll work double time.

“I will maintain my capacity in terms of what I did as the associate superintendent of teaching and learning, as well as take on the additional duties of the superintendent’s role,” Knighton said.

He added the school system won’t miss a step during this transition.

“Nothing changes for us as a district,” Knighton said. We’ll continue to move forward.”

Choates also said he’s proud of the many accomplishments he’s had as superintendent, including building a brand new high school. They also created a college career academy with multiple pathways for students to further their education.

“In six years, I feel like we’ve transformed that county,” he said.

The next step for the board will be to hire an interim or permanent person to replace the acting superintendent.

Choates is still an employee. For the remainder of the time, he will act as a transition coordinator to ensure things run smoothly after his departure.

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