An era in Columbia County education is drawing to a close.
School system Superintendent Tommy Price and his administrative assistant, Pam Zgutowicz, are retiring from their full-time posts June 30.
Columbia County school system employees honored the pair at a retirement reception Thursday at the board of education's office in Evans.
"I wouldn't want to be school superintendent in too many places," said Price, who has been with the system for 36 years.
He called Columbia County "a good community that values education."
About 60 people, including family members and school system employees, attended the reception. An ensemble made up primarily of band directors provided musical entertainment.
Other employees contributed money to a collection to remember the duo with parting gifts.
Price was presented with an iPod, a Grady Abrams watercolor of the old Cedar Grove schoolhouse and a travel gift certificate.
Zgutowicz received two travel gift certificates.
She joined the school system in 1984 as a teacher's aide for a pupil at Martinez Elementary School.
"I was just going to work for a couple of years. And 23 years later, here I am," she said.
She also worked as a secretary and as Price's administrative assistant for 13 years.
"Truly that was one of the best decisions I made," Price said of hiring Zgutowicz.
Even though they are returning to the school system in part-time capacities next year, they said the farewell party was a time of mixed emotions.
"It's kind of sentimental looking back on those days. Met a lot of wonderful people. Hopefully, the friendships will continue," Price said.
Frances Davis, a retired teacher, said she taught with Price at Harlem High School "too many years ago." She said she came to the reception to honor the outgoing superintendent.
"I think he's done a great job. I couldn't let him retire without saying good luck and congratulations," she said.
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