Jones County schools superintendent resigns

Jones County schools Superintendent Jim LeBrun has resigned with a year left on his contract, school officials said.

LeBrun submitted his resignation at a Tuesday night school board meeting, and the board accepted it unanimously. His last scheduled day is June 1.

“We were kind of surprised,” board Chairman James T. Stone said Wednesday. “I think he felt like he did all he could do for us, and maybe the board felt that way, too.

“We all left on good terms.”

The board is scheduled to hold a called meeting May 28 to appoint an interim superintendent.

LeBrun, 48, had been with the Jones County school system since 2005. He has a base salary of $145,000.

He said Wednesday that he had been contemplating leaving for a while.

“I’ve led the system as far as I can lead it,” LeBrun said. “I think you just have that feeling where you reflect where you are and feel it’s time to make a move.”

LeBrun, a former Balwin County middle school principal, said he hoped to stay in Georgia and pursue another school superintendency.

During his tenure, he said test scores and graduation rates improved, and there have been upgrades in school technology. The school system also attained district accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools under his leadership.

But the system also had recent turbulence in dealing with anticipated state cuts of about $2.6 million from the 2010 budget.

To compensate, the school system announced layoffs of nine teachers earlier this year, and that had caused some anxiety within the system.

“All school boards run into patches trying to balance the budget, and that causes tension and difficulty,” said another board member, Deloras Moon. “Sometimes superintendents have personal reasons for moving on and we accept that. This seems the right time to part.”

With Jones County’s portion of economic stimulus money, some of those teachers were rehired Tuesday.

“It’s been a privilege to serve the community and students and parents, and I’m proud of the accomplishments that have taken place in Jones County,” LeBrun said. “I know the system will move forward.”

The board will likely negotiate a settlement on LeBrun’s remaining contract, Stone said.

In the past year, other midstate school boards have parted ways with their superintendents, including Twiggs, Dodge and Baldwin school systems.

To contact writer Julie Hubbard, call 744-4331.