Published Sunday, December 16, 2012
By REBECCA LEFTWICH
When the Coweta County Board of Education met Tuesday, a familiar face was missing from its usual spot between Superintendent of Schools Steve Barker and board member Harry Mullins.
Facilities and construction reports were presented as usual and schools with December’s top attendance numbers praised, but not in Jerry Davis’ booming voice.
The associate superintendent was one of several longtime Coweta County School System employees who retired Nov. 30, taking advantage of a pension incentive and bowing out of a career in public education that spanned nearly 40 years.
Not much changed in Davis’ first week as a retiree. He spent three days cleaning out his office and woke up at 5 a.m. every day.
“I can’t break that habit just yet,” Davis said. “Retirement is going to be quite an adjustment.”
For the last three or four years he has been weighing his options, balancing a retirement maximized for a 30-year career with true enjoyment of his job.
“Mostly I just like the work,” said Davis, who spent a chunk of his career at Evans Middle School, where a new-ish administrative wing now bears his name. “In this day and age it may seem a little odd, but I enjoyed getting up and going to work every day.”
Davis began his career in 1976 as a physical science teacher in his native Mississippi. He earned a bachelor’s degree in secondary education in 1975 and a master’s degree in 1976 from Mississippi State University, where he also played football.
Davis earned his specialist degree in educational leadership from West Georgia College, now the University of West Georgia, in 1989.
In 1985, he began his CCSS career as a teacher and football coach at Central High School before becoming assistant principal and then principal at Evans. Davis – who was named associate superintendent in 2007 by then-Superintendent Blake Bass – served for 16 years as Evans’ principal and is the longest-tenured principal in CCSS history.
“Quite honestly, I have considered working longer,” Davis said, admitting to mixed emotions as he pictured himself working another five or six years. “But it’s time to let somebody else step in and bring some new energy, thoughts and ideas. We need that to keep moving forward. It was a good time for me to retire.”
Over the years, Davis has been a member and officer of numerous professional organizations including the Georgia Association of Educational Leaders, where he currently serves as president. That means he will keep a hand in education for awhile.
“I’ll finish up this year with GAEL, and next year I’ll serve as past president,” Davis said. “That’s another year and a half. I don’t see just walking away from it at this point.”
More than his duties as associate superintendent, Davis said, it was the people that made retirement from CCSS a difficult choice.
“I care about the people I worked with,” he said. “I care about the people in the county, the students and the parents in the community as well. There’s definitely mixed feelings with that.”
Davis headed to a Mississippi camp with a group of hunters at the end of his first week as a retiree, in no career-related hurry to return.
He says he’s weighing his options, but coming out of retirement for the right kind of situation is not out of the question.
“I want to look at my options and decide if retirement agrees with me,” he said. “I’m not going to jump into anything, but if something comes along I would enjoy where I could be helpful or useful, I may look at it.
“I’m not sure how long it’s going to take me to get bored,” Davis added. “I just can’t picture myself doing things like sleeping late and watching TV all the time.”