Cullman City Schools Superintendent Susan Patterson has announced that she will be retiring next summer.
Patterson made the announcement during Monday night's meeting of the Cullman City School Board, and the board approved her retirement for July 1, 2021.
After the board approved her retirement, Patterson made sure to thank everyone in the system who has shown support for her and the city's schools during her five years as superintendent.
"The community, the board members, the staff, you have so much support in Cullman City Schools and I just want to thank you so much," she said. "During my 30-plus years in education, I have been very blessed to work with great people and I know that the future of our schools and our community is a bright one and I will be glad to work through this transition to make sure we make the best possible learning environment throughout the rest of the year."
School Board President Joey Orr said Patterson originally came to the board in March to tell its members that she was planning to retire, but the closures from COVID-19 happened soon after and the school system was just beginning to work through its plans for the end of the school year and the beginning of the next one.
Trying to hire a new superintendent and get them acclimated to the school system while also dealing with the uncertainties caused by COVID-19 would have a difficult task, but fortunately, Patterson agreed to stay on for a little longer to help the system through the current situation, Orr said.
She said Patterson's retirement date of July will allow the board time to begin search for the next superintendent and make a smooth transition.
"That gives us plenty of time to begin looking for a replacement that will be suitable for Cullman City Schools," she said.
Board member Suzanne Harbin expressed her thanks to Patterson on behalf of herself and past board members, and said Patterson came in as superintendent five years ago and provided some much-needed leadership for the system that has led to improvements across the system's schools.
"You have really done a lot and I think if it hadn't been for that, we would have really been in a difficult situation, so you have done a phenomenal job," she said. "You've left us in a great place. You've left us in a better place that where you found us."