Smallwood announces retirement

Published 11:01 am Friday, September 16, 2011

“Begin with the end in mind”, a quote by educational author Stephen Covey is often used by outgoing school superintendent Dr. Zenobia Smallwood.  Smallwood announced her retirement recently, effective September 30, 2011 after 32 years of service.

Dr. Zenobia Smallwood

“It’s been about the children,” said Smallwood who began her service as a teacher assistant in the Gates County Schools.  Smallwood also held the positions of teacher, director of curriculum, and assistant superintendent for the Gates County Schools.  She became the district’s superintendent in 2006.  Smallwood is recognized as the district’s first minority and female superintendent.

Among her many accomplishments include the recognition as Region 1 Superintendent of the Year.

“That recognition belongs to the entire school district,” stated Smallwood.  “I could not have achieved this recognition without the support of our students, parents, faculty and staff.”

State Superintendent, June Atkinson spoke at this year’s Gates County Schools Convocation, which was held last month. Atkinson recognized Smallwood for having an effective administration.

“During the past five years, your district’s graduation rate went from 76 percent to 82 percent under Zenobia’s leadership,” Atkinson said.  “Your graduation rate exceeds the state rate.  As your graduation rate increased, your dropout rate has decreased.”

Among Smallwood’s strengths was the ability to motivate those around her.  Her job ethic served as an example for all.  She often used poetry to inspire others to step outside of their comfort zone.  One such poem is by Benjamin Mayes called “Life is But a Minute”.  Smallwood tells her audience that…

Life is but a minute with sixty seconds in it,

Forced upon you – can’t refuse it,

Didn’t seek it – didn’t choose it,

But it’s up to your to use it,

You must suffer if your lose it,

Give an account if you abuse it,

Just a tiny, little minute,

But eternity is in it.

When asked about her future plans, Smallwood was undecided.

“I plan to get some rest,” she stated.  Following that time, I have several options that include working part-time at the state level, serving as a consultant, or perhaps, running for a public office.”