CINDERELLA — Mingo County Superintendent Don Spence announced his retirement during a special Mingo County Board of Education meeting Wednesday, Feb 24.
Spence, who has been the superintendent since 2016, said in an interview with the WDN that he has done what he set out to do during his tenure and felt the time was right for him to retire.
“The more I thought about it, I really thought it was just time to move on to other things,” Spence said. “I’m very appreciative to be given this chance, and I’m very proud of the things we’ve done over the past five years. ... I just think I’ve done what I came to do. I’ve worked hard every day, and I just think it’s time for me to go and enjoy time with family and do some things I haven’t got to do.”
The announcement by Spence came following a long executive session on an agenda item titled “discussion and possible action on superintendent evaluation and contract.”
Following the session, Board President James Ed Baisden said the board had offered Spence a one-year contract, but no decisions were made. Spence then came forth and announced to the board his decision to retire.
Spence said the decision was emotional for him because he truly cares about the employees and students in the county and will miss the relationships he has formed with people over the years.
“I care about the people I work with every day, the people in the county that I work with and then the people in the central office,” Spence said. “We work as a very cohesive team, and it’s like a family. Just to think that I’m making a decision that will change the type of relationships I have with these people, that’s what makes it tough and emotional for me.”
During his 36-year career Spence, who is a graduate of Burch High School, has worn many titles.
After obtaining his degrees from WV Tech and Marshall, Spence began his teaching career in 1985 at Lenore High School. He later was a teacher at Lenore Middle School before eventually moving up the ranks to assistant principal and principal at LMS.
Spence was later the principal at Dingess Elementary, where he was employed prior to being chosen superintendent in 2016.
He also spent many years on the sidelines coaching student-athletes in the county serving as the head coach for the Tug Valley High School baseball and football teams and for the Lenore Middle School basketball and football teams for 13 years.
Spence was also an assistant coach on TVHS’ first state championship team in 1999.
“I’ve been a student, I’ve been a teacher, and I’ve been a coach at just about all levels,” Spence said. “I’ve done a lot of things, and I’ve had good relationships with people, and for that I am so grateful. That’s what it’s all about is the relationships you make with people. I feel fortunate that I’ve had these 36 years to work for the kids of Mingo County.”
Spence will finish his current contract on June 30.