After 27 years in education, including four as Williamsburg Independent Schools Superintendent, Dr. Amon Couch is retiring.
At a special called school board meeting Tuesday morning, Couch announced his decision to step down effective June 30.
“Today is a bittersweet day for me as a person and as a professional,” Couch said in a prepared statement he read to the board during the meeting.
Couch said he has been contemplating when he might call it a career, but within the last few weeks, it had been weighing more and more on his mind that it may be time.
“Guys I have known from other generations have said that you will know when it is time,” Couch said. “It is just like God has really been pressing on me these last few weeks, saying, ‘it is time to let somebody else do it.’”
Couch was hired in April 2016 to secede Denny Byrd.
“Mr. Couch was the most qualified and had the most experience, and had previously been a superintendent,” said Dr. John Jeffries, who served as chair of the board when Couch was hired.
The 49-year-old Clay County native began his career as an English teacher at Williamsburg in 1992.
Couch noted that when he was hired, he didn’t know anyone in Williamsburg.
“They hired me because they thought I was the best person for the job,” Couch said.
“That attitude permeates this place, and what we do and the decisions that we make.”
He spent a year at Whitley County as principal at Boston Elementary, and seven years at Corbin Independent Schools as the principal at Central Primary and then assistant principal at Corbin High School before going on to the Kentucky Department of Education.
Prior to returning to Williamsburg as principal, Couch served as assistant superintendent and then superintendent at Clay County Schools.
“To be able to be the superintendent now is, frankly, very overwhelming to me,” Couch said minutes after the board voted to hire him.
Couch said among the things accomplished during his tenure as Williamsburg superintendent, he is most proud of the complete renovation of the school building, the efforts to establish a mission statement and vision for the school system, and the community partnerships that have been established, noting the school system secured approximately $750,000 in grants this year alone.
“I know that the school district is stronger now than ever. Knowing that makes me very thankful,” Couch said.
Couch offered his thanks to everyone involved with the school for their efforts on its behalf, noting that it is a team effort that makes the school successful.
Couch said the faculty, staff, students and community must not rest on those laurels.
“The work isn’t complete,” Couch said. “We must keep the mantra of continuous improvement. We must constantly challenge ourselves to keep getting better. Never be satisfied.”
Couch challenged everyone to keep their “‘Jacket pride” in mind as they move forward.
“I love this community and want our school to grow, thrive and excel,” Couch said.
As to what he will do next, Couch said he isn’t certain, but emphasized that he will be seeking a new career.
“I look forward to the next chapter in my life,” Couch said.
“There is always a market for retired superintendents. People that have done leadership and know how to manage organizations.”
The board voted Tuesday to post the vacancy as it begins the search to find the next superintendent with the goal of having the position filled before Couch leaves.
“We hate to see him leave,” said Board Chair Roger Faulkner.