Director of Schools Dr. Jerry Hale has announced his retirement. New School Board chairman Scott Holmes informed board members of Hale’s decision at the end of their regular monthly meeting Thursday night.
“I have one announcement that I regrettably need to make,” Holmes said. “Our longtime director of schools has decided he is going to retire effective June 30, 2012. Dr. Hale has been a great leader of our school system, as you could tell tonight. We certainly regret he is retiring, but I do understand. If anybody has put their time in, Dr. Hale has.
“We do accept the retirement of Dr. Hale and that puts us in a good position,” Holmes continued. “Dr. Hale has given us plenty of time to put someone in place. We really appreciate that, and I think Dr. Hale has always kept the school system in mind even in his retirement.”
The Board of Education has posted the job and plans are to hire a new director by January so Hale will have time to train his replacement.
“So through June 30 of 2012 Dr. Hale will be our director of schools and then he’ll be fishing,” Holmes quipped.
“I may have to take up golf,” Hale replied. “Somebody told me to do that, but I don’t know if my back will take that or not, but we’ll try it.”
“He can watch Vanderbilt football all he wants,” Holmes said of another of Hale’s well-known interests.
“They seem to be improving,” Hale said of the Commodores.
In an interview Friday, Hale said there are several reasons for his decision.
“I really don’t know that there’s one specific thing,” Hale said. “It’s just that as my wife Sherry and I sat down and started looking at everything, she’s retiring in December, we did a lot of soul searching and evaluating and we just decided it was about time for both of us to take the plunge. That’s really when our decision was made.”
Dr. Hale, 60, a Warren County native who grew up in the Centertown community, has devoted over 37 years of his life to education, with over 34 of those here in Warren County serving in a wide variety of positions.
“I started in 1975 and my first job was roving math teacher in the Title 1 program at Irving College, Centertown and Morrison,” Hale said. “I had three schools. I’d go two days to Centertown, two days to Morrison and one to Irving College a week. Then at the end of the first semester a tutorial reading position came open at Centertown and I got it and stayed there five and a half years. So in the first six years I was in the Title 1 program.
“Then I became Special Ed director when Brian Knight asked me to come in and do that,” Hale said. “I kept that a year and a half and then took a leave of absence and went back to school. That’s when I went on and got my doctorate in the early ‘80s.”
Hale did his undergraduate and masters degree work at MTSU and got his doctorate at Vanderbilt.
“I was fortunate enough to spend a year while I was there as a graduate research assistant in Vanderbilt’s office of Educational Research. That was a very good learning experience for me. I did my practicum with Roy Kramer, who was then Vanderbilt’s athletic director before he became commissioner of the Southeastern Conference. I enjoyed that, so that was a good period in my career.”
Hale then spent two and a half years in the Decatur, Ga. school system teaching at Towers High School, after which he returned to Warren County and served as the vocational improvement program teacher at WCHS. Then Hale moved back to Irving College where he taught social studies and PE, leading to a segment of his career many people may not be aware of these days.
“I coached four basketball teams,” Hale said. “That was my first coaching experience. I coached two years. I coached one at Irving College and the next year I went to Northside and did PE and coached the sixth-grade boys. I only coached two years,” Hale added. “So I can’t hang my hat on that.”
Hale then made yet another move in his highly diversified career, serving for four years in the adult education program as adult literacy coordinator.
After that Hale started on the path to his current job as director of schools.
“That’s when Mr. (Pedro) Paz was elected superintendent and he asked me to come in with him to the Central Office,” Hale said. “This was in 1992, and I became director of instruction and stayed with him for eight years. Then I was appointed director of schools in 2000, so this will be my 12th year for that. So that, in a nutshell, is what I’ve done.”
Hale says he has made no definite plans for his retirement, other than fishing, golf and Vandy football, but he want to stay involved with education and perhaps even return to the classroom.
“I’m looking at some options,” Hale said. “I have previously taught as an adjunct in a couple of regional universities, so there’s some possibilities there. But at this point all I want to do is sit back for a while and see how things are going and just observe. After that if the itch hits me again then we’ll see if there’s something out there that people need me to do, or I need to do, and go from there.”