Less than a month into the new school year, Chickamauga City Schools Superintendent Melody Day abruptly has resigned.
Day, 56, who has held the position for 12 years, said she has been thinking about retiring and considering the benefits in her retirement plan. But she said she didn't want to make a decision before the new school year began and leave the board with no replacement.
"We had a fantastic start and a great month," she said Tuesday. "It seems like a good time."
Board Chairman Corky Jewell said the resignation came at an unusual time in the school year and that board members asked Day to stay longer.
"Are we disappointed she retired? Yes. Do we have hard feelings? Not really," he said.
At the August board meeting, Day went into an executive session with the board members. After the meeting resumed, Day asked to be released from her contract and the board approved, according to the meeting minutes. Her last day was Friday.
At Day's request, board members appointed Stacy McDaniel, the school district's director of special education and programs, as interim superintendent until the board can find a replacement.
The school's fiscal year ended July 1, and Day said she wanted to finish out the end of the year, then oversee the beginning of the new year, which began Aug. 6.
Day, who has been working for the school district for 34 years, said she considered the benefits of retiring before the end of the year since a benefit in her Teacher Retirement System plan won't be available after December.
Jewell said he believed Day had been preparing her administrators in anticipation of leaving.
A search for a new superintendent is being conducted internally and should take at least two months, Jewell said. But the board will open the position to the public if it can't find someone within the school district, he said.
Joy Lukachick Smith is the city government reporter for the Chattanooga Times Free Press. Since 2009, she's covered crime and court systems in North Georgia and rural Tennessee, landed an exclusive in-prison interview with a former cop convicted of killing his wife, exposed impropriety in an FBI-led, child-sex online sting and exposed corruption in government agencies. Earlier this year, Smith won the Malcolm Law Memorial Award for Investigative Reporting. She also won first place in ...