Superintendent Nate Huggins submitted his letter of retirement to the Caldwell County School Board on June 15, making his retirement effective Sept. 1.
Now, he looks ahead to his last couple of months in office and beyond.
In the letter, Huggins made reference to a plagiarized letter to graduating students published in the Times Leader in May, which drew criticism from several county residents.
“As the top educator in this school district, I’ve got to be in a situation where there’s no question about what’s going on,” the letter stated. “And I didn’t give credit where I should have given credit to a person that wrote an article, and I’m deeply sorry for that. This is the best action for our school district, for me to retire.”
Huggins succeeded interim superintendent Randy McCarty in July 2018, who filled the position following the departure of longtime superintendent Carrell Boyd in 2017. Huggins’ four-year contract was scheduled to end in 2022.
Last week, he talked about his brief tenure as superintendent.
“There’s a lot of great things going on in Caldwell County schools,” he said. “Of course, there’s always a lot of work to do anytime you’re dealing with education, with kids.
“We’re trying to build a culture and make things work — get everybody going in the right direction. It’s like directing a battleship, if you will. You can’t turn it on a dime; it takes time to navigate and get it in the right direction.”
Huggins said that success often can’t happen in two or even four years, that it often takes more than one four-year term to get things moving in the right direction.
“I’m just sorry that my (term) didn’t last longer than two years,” he said.
Huggins said that he would be living in the Canton area near Lake Barkley in Trigg County.
“I’m going to stay around the area for a while and see what the next chapter of Nate Huggins’ life is,” he said. “It could be in education, it could be a lot of things. I’m not sure exactly what I’m going to do, but I know one thing: I’m not going to sit at home. When you rest, you rust.”
Before taking the helm of Caldwell County schools, Huggins was an assistant superintendent in the Elizabethtown Independent School District for 11 years and the principal at Elizabethtown High School for two years.
“It was a godsend, coming down here,” he said. “I’ve met a lot of great people. I’m hoping that, in the small amount of time I’ve been here, we’ve got something going in the right direction.”
Before starting that next chapter, Huggins said he is focused on preparing Caldwell County students for the 2020-21 school year.
“My plan right now is to get (the Caldwell County School District) a plan to get back in school,” he said. “I’d like to have the best plan we can possibly put together with input from the faculty and staff and the parents of our students.
“We need to send a survey out at the end of the month. It’s going to be online. We’re going to send a OneCall out (through the district’s messaging system) to ask our parents to give us their feedback so we can develop a plan to come back to school based on the guidelines given to us by the (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).”
The district website can be found at caldwell.kyschools.us.