JAY - Jay Public School Superintendent Charles Thomas announced his retirement at the monthly Board of Education meeting Thursday, Dec. 8.

Thomas turned in his formal retirement letter during the section of the board's meeting regarding resignations and retirements. The board, which must approve all resignations and retirements, unanimously approved Thomas' wish.

Jay will not have a change in superintendent immediately, though.

"My plans are to retire, effective June 30, 2017," Thomas said.

Thomas has been involved in the education sector at some level for the past 41 years.

Prior to coming to Jay, Thomas served at Fairland Public Schools as superintendent for seven years before moving to Jay to serve them in the same capacity. He was a teacher and coach at Northeastern Oklahoma A&M before becoming a superintendent at Fairland.

He has been the superintendent of Jay school district for the past eight years.

"During my 41 years in education I have had the opportunity to work with outstanding educators who care a great deal about public education and have changed the lives of many students," Thomas said.

Thomas said the reason he decided to retire was because he felt it was just time to make the change.

"I believe this is a good time for a change of leadership because the district's budget is in good shape and the bond issue will be moving toward completion," Thomas said. "My goal is to make this transition as seamless as possible for the school district and give the Board of Education plenty of time to conduct a thorough search."

Thomas has no immediate plans at this time upon his retirement.

Board members were not informed of Thomas's plans to retire before the meeting, and four board members contacted for comment - Virgil Stump, Monte Rutherford, Linda Bingham and David Holcombe - chose not to comment on the issue.

Board president Arden Jackson said he would release a comment from the board once they were able to discuss the plan moving forward.

" I wont comment right now because we [the board] haven't had a chance to discuss it yet," Jackson said. "I don't want to say anything until I talk to everybody else."