Our View: Thanks to Renee Riggins for a job well done
There must have been something about the classroom that kept drawing Renee Riggins back to the Sylacauga City School System. She already had a college degree before she started working as a substitute teacher, and after having children of her own, she returned to college to become a certified teacher so that she could help children learn.

She was hired 29 years ago, and after serving four years as superintendent, she’s retiring to spend more time with family, traveling, and catching up on recreational reading.

Over the years, Riggins served as a teacher, assistant principal and principal before taking her talents to the central administrative office. There she served as administrative assistant for instruction and assistant superintendent. She was named interim superintendent upon the resignation of her predecessor, and was unanimously approved for the top job three years ago.

She’s helped guide the system through very challenging budgetary times — the system lost millions of dollars during the recession — and has been involved with multi-million dollar building projects that will impact education in the city for decades to come.

But she would rather put the spotlight on others in the system — she didn’t want a retirement party, or publicity — she would rather talk about the accomplishments of the more than 2,000 students in the system each year; or brag on her teachers, almost all of whom have earned the “highly qualified” designation; or the bus drivers, whose safety record for delivering children to and from school is praiseworthy; and others in the system who have performed their jobs so well they made her job easy.

“I think they need the recognition, and not me,” she said.

They do, and we commend the faculty and staff of all of the schools and systems in our area for their commitment and dedication.

We would be remiss in not recognizing her service, while continuing her professional development on her own time. While she has been working full time, she commuted to UAB to earn a Masters Degree in Elementary Education. She returned later to earn certification as an administrator. And she went beyond that to take Educational Specialist classes toward her personal goal of earning a doctorate.

The demands of her job put those plans on hold — but she hopes to resume classes in retirement to complete that degree to fulfill a personal goal.

But in expressing appreciation to Riggins for a job well done, Sylacaugans are fortunate they won’t also be saying farewell. Riggins plans to remain in the community and to become more active in volunteer work in the years ahead.

That’s good news for the community. We wish her well in her retirement.

© 2013