The Columbia County school system is a lot like the old joke about our weather.
If you don't like it, just wait; it'll change.
A couple of changes in the schools last week aren't anything like a personnel tornado, but they are worth noting nonetheless.
First was the announcement that Michele Sherman, principal at Greenbrier Elementary, would be taking over next year as director of elementary student learning - what used to be referred to as curriculum coordinator - upon the retirement of Phyllis Means.
Sherman has done an outstanding job as principal at Greenbrier, and before that at Martinez Elementary. But Sherman's march to the central office was something to behold.
Poor old Greenbrier has been through no small amount of turmoil the past few years. Principal Charles Henderson resigned and was replaced in 2003 with Jon Pike, who three years later had replicated his experience with a previous school system by being either deeply loved or bitterly hated.
He and his supporters portrayed his 2006 demotion as a personal dispute between him and his supervisor, associate superintendent Lauren Williams. If that was the case, she won.
Sherman had replaced Williams as Martinez principal when Williams was promoted to the central office. So it was no surprise when the central office hand-picked Sherman to take over Greenbrier.
It was, however, a shock to the Martinez Elementary family. They were none too pleased at losing Sherman.
And, of course, with the Greenbrier family still smarting over Pike's departure, Sherman had to smooth some ruffled feathers there, too.
By all accounts she's done a great job. And though it's a shame that the school will once again have to swap principals, at least it seems the atmosphere will be somewhat easier on the next person.
Meanwhile, another announced departure this week also comes as the slow-motion result of controversy.
Randy Hill is leaving Lakeside High School, a place where he's given heart and soul to the athletic program since the school opened in 1988.
Lakeside has long been Columbia County's strongest school academically, which often translated into only marginal success athletically. It's the county's only high school with a parent-teacher organization, and it shows: Those involved parents who help make its academic programs so strong also are intensely engaged in the school's athletic programs.
In fact, they supported it so much that they ran off the guy who got the job they felt Hill should have received in 2001, and Hill became the beneficiary as athletic director and head football coach in 2002.
Alas, the parents give, the boosters take away. The brainiacs who have produced most of the county's STAR students haven't done quite as well on the football field, so eventually the parents clamored for Hill's head - even though he had done an outstanding job in improving Lakeside's overall athletic program.
Eventually, Hill was pushed aside, replaced with Jody Grooms - who promptly stepped in it by letting his football players run an illegal play, and getting caught on tape doing so.
Though he would have been supremely justified, Hill never said "I told you so." But he did say "goodbye," last week announcing that he's taking a coaching job at East Jackson High School in Commerce, Ga.
That is a real shame. Lakeside's athletic program is still in flux, and now the school is losing a first-class guy like Hill.
At least Columbia County still has Sherman. It's too bad we couldn't hang on to Hill, too. But then, we'd never appreciate the good weather if we didn't occasionally have a little storm.
Barry L. Paschal is publisher of The Columbia County News-Times. E-mail comments to barry.paschal at newstimesonline.com.
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