LEE COUNTY SCHOOLS: Batten leaving Lee for Scotland County
As the end of the school year nears, three administrators from two Lee County schools have announced plans to leave their positions.
From Lee County High School, Principal Greg Batten will take a job in Scotland County, and Assistant Principal Annie Waddell will retire after decades of service. Silvia Bayer, principal at J. Glenn Edwards Elementary School, will take a job in the Lee County Schools central office coordinating public and private Pre-K programs.
Neither Bayer nor Waddell could be reached for comment. Batten — who has been at Lee County High for 15 years, including the last nine years as principal — said he loves Lee County, but becoming the new principal at Scotland High School will be a good move for both his career and his family.
He said he's happy with what he accomplished as principal — especially the rising graduation rate he said came hand-in-hand with increased test scores, more students taking Advanced Placement classes, and the school meeting or exceeding its expected growth rate every year.
"We've had tremendous improvement in the graduation rate over the years," Batten said. "(The percent of students graduating on time) has gone from the low 60s when I first got there to nearly 90 percent. It was 86 percent last year, and our goal for this year is 90 percent."
Batten said he's also sad on behalf of students, parents and staff that Waddell plans to retire. Waddell, Batten said, is the type of person whose experience and dedication can't be easily replaced.
"She's certainly an educational institution in this place," Batten said. "She's a pillar of the community. ... Most people don't know that she's had opportunities to advance beyond the role of assistant principal. But she had more school goals in mind than personal goals in mind, and she will be a great loss."
As for Bayer, she won't be leaving the district, just switching to a new position. Supt. Jeff Moss said she has spent most of her career working at the Pre-K level — she was principal at Edwards for just a year, moving there after a long career at Warren Williams Child Development Center — and that she has the passion and experience to ensure that local children are prepared for school from an early level.
"What we have witnessed for the past several years is that our Pre-K programs in the county, and across the state, need some focus," Moss said.
Bayer's replacement at Edwards will be Christina Womble, whose two-year contract was approved by the school board Tuesday just before Andy Bryan, the district's associate superintendent of curriculum and instruction, was selected to replace Moss, who's leaving at the end of June. Moss said he and Bryan will work together to find replacements for Batten and Waddell. Moss said Batten took the high school to new heights and will be sorely missed, and adjusting to Waddell's retirement will be difficult.
"She is extremely passionate about the success of every child that walks through those doors every day and will be an extremely hard person to replace," Moss said. "In fact, she's irreplaceable."