Franklin County Director of Schools to Retire


by Leslie Lytle, Messenger Staff Writer

After 39 years as an educator, Director of Schools Stanley Bean has announced his decision to retire. Bean took the helm as director in 2017 and has navigated the county schools through difficult and challenging times.

“People don’t understand what challenging times we’ve been going through,” Bean said. “They assume everything is normal, but it’s not.”

Bean accepted the invitation to serve as director in the midst of the controversy about whether to build one or two new middle schools. He ushered in the popular decision to build two new schools, but with construction barely underway, the COVID pandemic struck.

“The old schools had already been torn down,” Bean said. “In spite of construction workers with COVID taking sick leave, we managed to keep the construction going.” Nationally, many construction jobs went on hold. “People don’t realize how lucky we were to get the middle school projects done,” Bean insisted.

COVID presented a plethora of other problems, as well, with schools closed and children educated by distance learning strategies. Returning to the classroom in the fall meant grappling with difficult decisions about wearing masks and how to address the learning loss from the previous year.

Why is Bean stepping down now?

“I’m old enough to retire,” he said. “There is going to be a lot of change statewide and nationally in the next two to three years. Someone needs to jump in from the very beginning.” He cited the changes ushered in by new state laws, notably TISA (Tennessee Investment in Student Achievement), the new school funding formula, and mandated third grade retention for students who do not test at grade level. “The funding will be better,” Bean said, “but third grade retention is a major issue. We hope the legislature will change that.”

Bean plans to continue to play an active role between now and June 30 when his contract ends to guide the district into the changing times. He praised school district educators, support employees, and the school board. “I’ve had a lot of good people support me, and I’ve tried to support them.”

What will Bean do when he retires?

“I never thought I would retire,” Bean confessed. “I don’t have any plans. Maybe something in education,” he speculated. If that is the case, the world of education will be well served by his decision.

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