Grove Superintendent Sandy Coaly announced her intent to retire from the school’s top post on Tuesday, Oct. 10 during a regular school board meeting.

Coaly, who has been an educator for 41 years, will retire effective June 30, 2018. Of those years, 11 were with the Grove School District, first as the lower elementary principal and then as the superintendent.

After meeting in executive session for 50 minutes, the board returned and announced Coaly had submitted her intent to retire. 

Clara Mills, school board president said Coaly presented the letter during the session, which was initially designed as the yearly discussion of her contract. 

Mills’ statement touched on the many accomplishments of Coaly, who has been superintendent for eight years.

Miles cited Coaly's leadership of the school district through many bond issues and the building of the new Performing Arts Center.

Coaly was also praised for maintaining school’s budget each year with a healthy carryover balance despite cut in educational funding and her commitment to technology.

Other business 

In other business, The Grove School Board approved a $17.8 million budget for the new school year. 

“We possibly could add another nursing position in either December or January,” Coaly said.

The board voted to hire Teresa Royster Williams as Title III Bilingual Liaison with a $3,000 stipend, Cory Crittenden as a volunteer Lay Assistant Junior High and High Schools Boys' Wrestling Coach, Katie Buchanan as part-time Elementary Counselor and Paul Cowen for extra duty as Head Sixth Grade Boys' Basketball Coach. Other new hires were Shannon Sylvester as seven-hour cafeteria worker, Michella Morgan as a bus driver and Barbara Bishop as a part-time Teacher Assistant/Accompanist, Cindy Coronel as a Skilled Paraprofessional.

Also approved was a fringe employment benefit increase of $26,649, which covers the cost of increase in vision and dental plans and the School Resource Officer contract with the City of Grove. 

“The cost is $51,000 for both resource officers,” Coaly said. “They are vital for our campuses.”

Nine students were reported on the Student Drop-Out report, which was approved by the board.

“We find every student to see if they have dropped out or getting their GED,” said Renae Dozier, Grove High School principal. 

School officials make up to 10 telephone calls to locate the students, she said.

The school board also learned the first play to be performed in the new Performing Arts Center would be the children’s classic “The Wizard of Oz.”

The play has around 150 cast members, said Jeffrey Haynes, Speech and Drama teacher. 

Haynes said there were about 60 middle and high school students and 120 munchkins audition for the play, which will be performed the last weekend in February.

Other items approved were:

• substitute Teacher list.

• Memorandum of Agreement with AmeriCorps Lead to Read program.

• revising the Officials' Pay Schedule with the addition of a concession manager.

• sanctioning the Grove High School Fishing Team.

• contract for Career and Technology Education Programs. .

• negotiations with GCTA.

Resignation letter

In the letter, Grove Superintendent Sandy Coaly wrote her decision to retire comes after "many hours of prayer and thoughts."

"I have truly enjoyed my job as Grove Superintendent, more than any job I have ever held," Coaly wrote. "It has been rewarding in so many ways."

Coaly said as superintendent, she has had the opportunity to work with "some outstanding educators and support personnel, from teachers, administrators, maintenance, transportation, food service, teacher assistants, secretaries, special services, and federal programs."

"Each and every department is vital to our school and because they believe it can be the best, it continues to improve daily," Coaly said. 

Coaly joked in the letter this fall will be the first time in 55 years she will not have a "first day" of school, since starting school the year she turned six, but said her 41 years as an educator has been "great."

"It is time for me to spend more time with my family and friends. Maybe have a little less stress in life," Coaly said. "The last eight years have kept me very busy."

Coaly said she would continue to work, to the best of her ability, through June 30, 2018.

"I will not quit working just because I am giving you this notice," Coaly said. "I feel the Board of Education will need time to allow for a quality search and time to do the great task of interviews for the next superintendent for GPS."