Superintendent resigns amid last minute meetings

News

JASPER, Ga. – The Pickens County Board of Education has called three meetings in less than 48 hours of each other regarding the subject of the Superintendent position.

This morning, at 8:59 a.m., the notice came from the Pickens County Board of Education for an Emergency Special Called meeting an hour later at 10:00 a.m. to discuss the Superintendent position. This coming after last night’s meeting that was called just over 24 hours earlier. Less than an hour after this morning’s meeting finished, another meeting has been called for tomorrow morning at 11:00 a.m., giving slightly less than 24-hours notice.

Today, at 10 a.m., the Emergency Special Meeting was held to accept the resignation of Pickens County Schools Superintendent Dr. Carlton Wilson. The meeting was called to order and the agenda amended to delete an executive session and approval of executive session minutes, moving straight to the discussion as the superintendent resigned.

Board Attorney Phil Landrum III said, “Mr. Chairman, at your direction, and at the board’s direction, I have prepared a settlement agreement between the superintendent and the board. I presented that to all parties last night. It is my understanding that the Superintendent is tendering his resignation subject to the conditions upon the terms of that agreement.”

The vote came immediately after this at 3-2 to accept his resignation. Joeta Youngblood, Donna Enis, and Tucker Green voted for accepting the resignation. Steve Smith and Sue Finley voted against accepting his resignation.

Right before the meeting adjourned two comments were made. Sue Finley stated, “I am heartbroken. Dr. Wilson has done a fantastic job leading this county. He has turned around a lot of the issues that we had when he came in. He is one of the kindest men I know. He is one of the smartest men I know. When teachers demonstrate weaknesses that need to be corrected, they are brought into their administrator’s office. Their weaknesses are outlined and explained. And they are given a plan to remediate those weaknesses. They are rarely summarily dismissed. I believe that Dr. Wilson should have been afforded this courtesy and he was not. I completely disagree with this decision to release him. I believe that this is at least one backward step for our county. And I am so sorry, Dr. Wilson. I am very embarrassed that our county is going to be portrayed this way and that you’ve been treated this way. But, unfortunately, I am part of the minority.”

Additionally, Steve Smith commented saying, “I totally agree, this is the most egregious act I have ever witnessed on a board. And for it to come out of nowhere is shocking. I was as shocked yesterday, uh, I absolutely do not support the release of Dr. Wilson and I absolutely think our board has taken a ten-year step backwards. I think our school system has suffered because of this decision. I admire you Dr. Wilson.”

Superintendent Dr. Carlton Wilson ResignsNo board member voting to accept the resignation offered comment and left shortly after the meeting.

While few citizens were on hand for the meeting, some who were present spoke privately with Dr. Wilson. One citizen was overheard asking why the meeting was called as an emergency. Another was heard saying this subject should have been handled after the new year.

Landrum did say in the meeting that he had presented the settlement the night before this meeting was called 61 minutes before it was held. Finley was also discussing the topic with citizens saying that the board has gone through four superintendents in six years.

Dr. Wilson declined to comment at the moment, instead saying that he would offer a written statement later.

Additionally, the meeting was closed without any interim or stand-in appointed. Some would speculate that the notice sent out at 11:04 a.m. today, calling for a new meeting at 11:00 a.m. tomorrow, is to address the issue as Wilson’s signatures are no longer valid on any board documents, agreements, checks, or other legal actions.

FYN can confirm that yesterday’s meeting delivered an ultimatum of “resign or be terminated.” The meeting, called to order at 3:00 p.m., held over two hours of executive session in which Dr. Wilson spent the majority of the time excluded from, but then later included in the final part of the executive session.

Further on that topic, it is FYN’s understanding that the settlement agreement is likely to have been different from the termination clauses specifically in the amount of money involved. However, FYN is attempting to confirm this as we submit an Open Records Request for the settlement agreement.

Stay with FYN as new details become available in this story and we await comment from Dr. Wilson and look to tomorrow’s last-minute meeting as the board deals with the situation mere days before Christmas.

Pickens Basketball Celebrates Season At Banquet

PHS Basketball, Team FYN Sports

Last night, the PHS Basketball program celebrated their seasons with their end of the year banquet. Coaches talked about the good things during the season, the growth of the players, & sang happy birthday to the birthday girl, Nettes’ varsity head coach Donna Enis.

 

The cheerleaders were up first to celebrate their season and recognize everyone that helped them throughout the year. After the cheerleaders were given their certificates, it was girls JV coach Jenna Shaw’s turn as she talked about her teams season. She had several freshman and young girls on the roster and sees great potential in the girls. Next up, was coach Beckham for the C-team (9th grade), while they did not win a game during the season, coach Beckham was very encouraged by the progress they made during the year.

 

After the C-Team, it was JV boys coach Bo Page’s turn to recognize his team and their season. He acknowledged his team for improving during the season and for helping the Varsity prepare for their games. It would be the Dragonettes turn to be recognized as coach Enis shared her thoughts on the season. She noted that while she had a young team, she was thrilled how they came together to be just one game shy of having back to back state tournament appearances.

 

Sophomore Mackenzie Hampton was recognized as an All-region player and Madison McClure, Ashley Nelson, & Autumn Young were recognized as Honorable Mentions for the All-Region team. Sophomore Shelby Cook took home the Biscuit Award given to the girl who drew the most charges. Ashley Nelson received the Academic Award for having the highest GPA on the team.

 

Kaitlin Redman then was awarded the Most Improved Award. The Offensive Player went to Mackenzie Hampton while the Defensive Player went to Madison McClure. The Coach Pruitt Award went to Taylor Wigington. Ashley Nelson was rewarded with the Sierra Stephens Heart of a Dragon Award & Madison McClure received the Sierra Stephens Memorial Scholarship. The MVP went to Autumn Young.

 

Last but not least, varsity boys coach Brad Steinhauer came up to the podium to talk about his team. He mentioned winning two games in one day to reach the state tournament and beating rival Gilmer four times in one season.

 

Holden Roop was recognized as All-Region for the Dragons & Trent Rizoti received All-Region Honorable Mention. Both players will be playing in the N. Ga All Star game on Thursday. Sam Davis was awarded the Defensive Player award while Holden Roop got the Offensive Player award.

 

Winner of the Academic Award was Avery Luke for having the team high GPA. The Best Rebounder Award went to Trent Rizoti. Tyler Garner took home the Jennings Key Memorial Award. The RJ Casey Spirit Award went to Joseph Gossett. The Heart of a Dragon Award went to Walker Lawrence. The Stephen Ledford Memorial Award went to DJ Walden. The Final award of the night was the MVP Award and was given to Holden Roop.

 

It was a great night celebrating everyone that had a part in making this season of PHS Basketball successful. Both teams have a lot of young talent and the future is bright for both the Nettes’ & Dragons.

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