MOULTRIE, Ga. — Colquitt County School Superintendent Doug Howell announced plans to retire at the end of the upcoming school year during a Monday evening Board of Education meeting.
The 30-minute meeting was carried live on Facebook, and a video remains on the school system’s Facebook page. The bulk of the meeting was discussion about plans to reopen the schools in August. The schools were closed in March due to the coronavirus pandemic, and many questions remain about what sort of health environment will be in place when the new school year is scheduled to start.
After that discussion and other business, Chairman Robbie Pitts closed the meeting for an executive session for the purpose of the superintendent’s annual review. After the vote to go into executive session, the video ended.
Following that closed meeting, a second video began with Pitts calling the meeting back into session. He said Howell had presented the board with a letter during the executive session, and Pitts read it aloud.
“It is with much gratitude that I notify you of my intention to retire from the Colquitt County School System effective July 1st, 2021,” the letter read. “My last day on the job will be June 30th, 2021.”
He thanked the board for the privilege of serving as superintendent.
“I am most grateful and humble to have been in a position to positively impact thousands of students and families over the last 35 years,” Howell wrote. “Any success that I might have enjoyed was the direct result of the hard work, expertise and professionalism of the many Colquitt County teachers, administrators and staff members that I have worked with along the way.”
Howell was praised by Pitts and by board members Mary Beth Watson and Trudie Hill.
“It was a great comfort to know that things would always be done the right way,” said Watson, who was board chairman when Howell was hired as superintendent.
Howell was himself a graduate of the Colquitt County School System. After years in business, he became an elementary school teacher and worked his way up. In addition to time as an assistant principal, he served as principal of Hamilton Elementary School, 1995-1999; Odom Elementary, 1999-2006; and Williams Middle School, 2006-2014.
In 2014 he became director of student services, and in July 2016 he was named as interim superintendent upon the departure of Superintendent Samuel DePaul. About six weeks later, he was hired as superintendent on a permanent basis.
In addition to his backgrounds in business and education, Howell is a retired lieutenant colonel in the US Air Force Reserve.