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February 2020
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Sudden removal of superintendent throws school administration into chaos

Board chair cites loss of confidence in leadership; Wilson supporters say move not warranted 

wilson departs

Carlton Wison shakes hands with supporters after his sudden removal as school superintendent for Pickens County Thursday in the school board meeting room. Facing a clear three-two vote against him, he had no choice but to resign, he said.


       After two quickly called “emergency” meetings, a 3-2 split among members of school board forced the resignation of Superintendent Carlton Wilson Thursday morning. 

The resignation was effective immediately, throwing the central office into temporary turmoil and prompting a third meeting Friday morning, where Dr. Charles Webb, who had previously served as interim, was again named to that position [See story on page 2A].

Following the Thursday meeting, a visibly shaken Wilson spoke to the Progress saying, “I am shocked. This came out of left field. We have a great school system. Great teachers, great parents and great students.”

        See full story in this week's print or online editions.  

Former Pickens interim hired again

charles webb

Progress file photo

Dr. Charles Webb

In a unanimous 5-0 vote, members of the Pickens County Board of Education on Friday, Dec. 20 voted to hire Dr. Charles Webb as the school system’s interim superintendent, filling the void left when Dr. Calrton Wilson resigned a day earlier.

Dr. Webb is no stranger to Pickens schools as he was hired in December 2016 to replace Dr. Lula Mae Perry when she too was ousted as superintendent. The board appointed Webb - a seasoned education administrator - to temporarily fill the superintendent’s position until the board hires a permanent replacement.  

Read more: Former Pickens interim hired again

Community efforts underway to provide new Nativity for town


nativity to be bought

 Donations are sought to purchase this Nativity for the town’s holiday display. Organizers say that it will likely become a 2020 project.

        The absence of a Nativity scene on the courthouse did not go un-noticed by many during the downtown Christmas parade and tree lighting.

Social media posts began appearing seeking answers on the whereabouts of the town’s Nativity and why it wasn’t up.

In a convoluted mix of informal agreements: the county government provides the tree (which is erected, will be removed and stored by a private contractor); the sleigh where Santa poses for pictures is stored in the county public works area but is set up by the Jasper Merchants Association, who also takes

Read more: Community efforts underway to provide new Nativity for town

Superintendent resigns; board split 3-2 on Wilson's release

Updated -- The school board met at 10 a.m. on Thursday where Dr. Carlton Wilson resigned. The board voted three-to-two on the resignation. Board members Tucker Green, Donna Enis and Joetta Youngblood were in favor. Board members Sue Finley and Steve Smith were opposed. Both Smith and Finley offered heated statements against Wilson being removed. See full details in next week's print edition.

None of those in favor of removing Wilson offered any public comments.


pickens-county-schools-seal   The school board held a meeting lasting almost three hours in executive session today. The meeting ended with no action announced nor any public statements.

    A person with first-hand knowledge of what happened in the executive session confirmed the position of Superintendent Carlton Wilson was the subject of the private session.

    Several teachers and staff members in attendance at the Wednesday meeting said they had come after hearing widespread speculation that Wilson may be replaced as superintendent.

    A member of the public had an e-mail from one board member that referenced “tension” and “communication issues” that would be discussed.

    As she was leaving, Board Member Sue Finley said that she wasn’t sure what she could say but indicated they may meet again tomorrow. Findley said she was angered that this meeting had been at 3 p.m. when the public and staff could not attend and said she had pressed that tomorrow’s meeting be moved to the regular 6 p.m. time.

    Board members and staff would not comment on the record.

    One person leaving called the whole situation “bizarre.”

    Following the meeting, Superintendent Wilson confirmed the likely meeting tomorrow. He said, “My expectation is there will be an emergency called meeting and there will be some clarity.”

The Christmas Shoes singer joins Jasper Middle concert

Christmas Shoes Chorus

     Billy Goodwin of NewSong made a cameo at the Jasper Middle School Chorus concert Dec. 11 to perform “The Christmas Shoes,” which reached No. 1 on the Billboard Adult Contemporary Chart in 2001. NewSong is a contemporary Christian band that has 20 No. 1 hits on the Christian charts, and is a member of the Georgia Music Hall of Fame.  Jasper Middle School / Photos

      Billy Goodwin, voice of the popular “The Christmas Shoes” song and member of the GRAMMY-nominated Christian band NewSong, made the holidays a little brighter for Jasper Middle School chorus students this year. Goodwin’s grandson is a member of the JMS chorus, and the veteran musician joined in on their holiday concert to perform a rendition of “The Christmas Shoes.”

JMS Chorus Director Allison Priest said the opportunity arose when her student Sawyer Goodwin asked her if she liked the song.

Read more: The Christmas Shoes singer joins Jasper Middle concert