THOMSON - One of McDuffie County's most beloved educators is moving on.
Dearing Elementary School Principal Darrell Wells is retiring at the end of the 2002-2003 school year to accept the principal's position at Augusta Christian Schools' elementary school.
"I have 30 years as a public educator.An opportunity came available, so I decided to take it," he said.
Though Wells - who started his career as a teacher in Columbia County - leaves after serving 26 years as Dearing Elementary's principal, he's quick to emphasize how much he loves the community of Dearing and the school he presided over for so long.
"Of course I'll miss the children; I know most by first name," he said. "And the faculty and staff and the people that work with me. I'll miss Dearing, the community."
Dearing Elementary School Principal Darrell Wells is
leaving the school to take a similar position at Augusta Christian Schools.
Photo by Elwood Hamilton
Wells and his family will continue to live in Dearing, and they will continue to be very active with their church, Dearing Baptist Church. Wells' devotion to his religion is one of the primary reasons he's moving on.
"Christians feel they have callings," he said. "This was an opportunity to follow that."
McDuffie County School Superintendent Dr. Ed Grisham said Wells will be hard to replace.
"Mr. Wells has been a very outstanding and valuable administrator in McDuffie County," he said. "We hate to lose him, and we have benefited from his stability and outstanding leadership. His leadership has been very apparent in the school."
Wells is especially proud of the accolades Dearing Elementary has received recently, including state runner-up for the Georgia International Reading Association's Georgia Reading Excellence Award, as well as being recognized as a Professional Development School for Augusta State University.
"We've developed a pretty good program over the years with the help of the board," he said. "It's been a real cooperative effort county wise."
Wells went on to praise the way McDuffie County operates as a cohesive unit.
"I've never seen such cooperation between a board of education and the educators," he said. "It's just excellent leadership, and it's a good place to work."
Officials at Augusta Christian say they are excited about getting the long-time educator.
"It's just going to be a blessing to have him," said Augusta Christian Headmaster Joel Woodcock. "We just feel very blessed to get somebody with his kind of experience. Thirty years of experience is just fantastic, and he'll bring all the things that he's been able to gain over those 30 years.
"At this point, spiritually speaking, he wants to do something significant with Jesus Christ. Any time you make a change it's difficult, but with his kind of experience under his belt, it's going to make it a whole lot easier."
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