Blount County Schools director Alvin Hord will retire at the end of the current school year.
“I’m going to retire June 30 of 2009,” Hord told Blount Today on March 2. “I’m just going to retire and spend time with my grandchildren and my family.”
Hord said he had been thinking about it the last six months. “I talked to people I’m close to and, like any other decision, you think about it and consider all options,” he said. “It’s just the right time for me. Everything is going smooth for most part except this budget deal we’re going to go through.”
The schools director praised the school board. “We’ve got a good board. They just extended my contract. Everything is going well, and I want to leave when things are like that,” he said.
Hord said he had a large extended family of brothers and sisters he had spoken with and he also had spoke to his wife of 39 years about the decision. “My family is in support, and my wife, Betty, was in support,” he said.
“Most of my career has been in central office,” he said. “I started as a counselor and came to central office, did several of those jobs and ended up as schools director.”
On June 30, Hord will have been at the helm of Blount County Schools for seven and a half years. Hord began in January of 2002 when he took over for interim schools director Benny Dalton.
Hord said the challenging times for his administration has been working to improve test scores and mandates dealing with federal education law. “The most challenging thing everybody has had to deal with is making progress in No Child Left Behind mandates,” he said.
The schools director said he’s always tried to have the right priorities. “We have tried to keep kids first in all that we do,” he said.
Hord said he and his team have worked hard to improve student reading. “My most proud moments would probably be my emphasis on reading and how people have responded to that and helped me with that,” he said. “We talked about this, and I had ideas, and they carried them out. I give them the credit.”
The schools director said he is also proud of the freshmen academy initiative begun on his watch and on the building and capital improvements made throughout the system. “We’ve had Carpenter’s Elementary, Union Grove elementary and middle schools, the renovation of Fairview and a number of other capital projects we’ve done while here,” he said.
Hord also thanked others in authority for helping bring about those improvements. “Credit has to be given to the board and the county commission,” he said.
Hord said thanked teachers and central office staff for all their efforts. “You have ideas and things you’re working on, but it’s a team of people who help you put those things together,” he said.