Originally created 12/16/06

Candidates stress experience

Finalists for Columbia County's next superintendent say they both view the job as their final career move.

In a school board meeting this week, Columbia County Associate Superintendent Charles Nagle and Liberty County, Ga., Superintendent Steve Wilmoth were chosen as the top candidates for the post Superintendent Tommy Price plans to retire from at the end of this school year.

Mr. Nagle came to Columbia County from Claxton, Ga., in 1989. He served as principal of both Riverside elementary and middle schools before accepting promotion to associate superintendent eight years ago.

In his 31-year career, Mr. Nagle said he has worked as a teacher, coach and administrator across a number of grade levels.

"I think my experience is well rounded," he said. "Also, I know this school system. I know every administrator. I know every school. I know every closet in every school. I think that would have to be advantageous for me."

Mr. Nagle, 56, said he'd like to end his career in Columbia County but doesn't plan on retiring anytime soon.

"I'm working on plans for the next high school opening in 2009 and for the next (one-cent sales tax package) in 2012," he said. "I plan to be around as long as they want me."

A school official informed Dr. Wilmoth of his finalist status Wednesday, he said.

Dr. Wilmoth, 57, said he would like to finish his career in such a respected school district.

"Sometimes it just feels like it's the right time to go," he said. "They have a great system there, and I liked the community. They're a marquee district."

Dr. Wilmoth came to Liberty County, near Savannah, in 2001. Before that, he worked as a superintendent in three Oklahoma school systems.

In a report from a superintendent search committee, some of the members expressed concerns about Dr. Wilmoth's ability to transition to a much larger school system than he is used to.

"I came from a system of about 2,000 to one of about 12,000 with no bumps on the road," he said. "Leadership is leadership, regardless of what size the systems are."

The Liberty County school system has a student population of about 12,000 and operates with about a $119 million annual budget. The school system in Columbia County topped 21,000 students this year and has an annual budget of about $150 million.

Reach Donnie Fetter at (706) 868-1222, ext. 113, or donnie.fetter@augustachronicle.com.



Home: Martinez

Age: 56

Occupation: Associate superintendent of Columbia County schools

Experience: Principal at Riverside Middle School, principal at Riverside Elementary School, assistant principal at Riverside Middle School, assistant principal at Lakeside Middle School, teacher at Harlem High School, athletic director in Evans County, Ga., and teacher/coach in Tattnall County, Ga.

Education: Education specialist degree from Augusta State University, master's degree from University of Georgia, bachelor's degree from Georgia Southern University and associate degree from South Georgia College


Home: Midway, Ga.

Age: 57

Occupation: Superintendent of Liberty County schools

Experience: Superintendent of Fort Gibson Schools in Oklahoma, superintendent of Fairland Public Schools in Oklahoma, principal at Fairland Public Schools, superintendent/principal at Nuyaka Schools in Oklahoma and elementary physical education department head in Jay Public Schools in Oklahoma.

Education: Doctorate from University of Arkansas, post master's degree from Oklahoma State University, master's degree from Northeastern State University in Oklahoma, bachelor's degree from Missouri Southern State University, associate degree from N.E.O. A&M Miami in Oklahoma


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