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Gary French never expected to have a long career as superintendent of Elizabethtown Independent Schools, saying he planned to serve only one contract.
He made it official he will do just that and retire at the end of the school year. The next superintendent will be the district’s fifth in the last eight years.
French informed EIS board members a few weeks ago, he said, and held a staff meeting to make the announcement at the end of last week.
French was selected as superintendent in 2009 and said honoring his contract through June 2013 “was my commitment from the get-go.”
After occasionally receiving questions about his plans, he said he felt he needed to go ahead and make district employees aware of his decision.
French will finish the school year. This will give the board several months to begin planning for a new superintendent.
A graduate of Elizabethtown High School, French began his career in education in 1978 as a teacher for Hardin County Schools before moving to the EIS district in 1982 as a teacher and boys’ basketball coach.
He continued coaching after he became an assistant principal in 1988. He began serving as assistant athletic director in 1992 and left coaching in 1995. In 1996, he became athletic director.
From 1998 to 2005, he served as a director of pupil personnel, maintenance and transportation. In 2006, he continued his position heading up transportation as well as the alternative education center and returned as director of pupil personnel in 2007 until he was hired as superintendent.
The district has seen a lot of transition in the superintendent position since Paul Upchurch left the role in 2005. French stepped into the position as an interim and some wanted to see him become the permanent district leader. John Millay was hired instead and was followed by Jayne Morgenthal in 2008. Many people vocally opposed both hires and supported French during volatile school board meetings.
French said he still has a lot to accomplish in his remaining time.
“It’s not a goodbye yet,” he said.
Kelly Cantrall can be reached at (270) 505-1747 or firstname.lastname@example.org.