Bowen on Resignation Decision - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

03/14/06

Bowen on Resignation Decision

Col. George Bowen Col. George Bowen

Savannah-Chatham County Public Schools' second-in-command is stepping down. After 4 1/2 years on the job, Col. George Bowen is resigning as chief operations officer. We caught up with Bowen Monday evening, who told us he felt like a free man.

He says 10- to 12-hour days were burning him out, and while he will miss the students, parents, and teachers, it felt like the right time to go.

"All of a sudden, I realized I'm putting all this time in and I need time for myself," he said.

Bowen says he made up his mind yesterday morning and turned in his letter of resignation to superintendent Dr. Thomas Lockamy.

"I went in and told him, 'I need a break, I cannot to continue to do this,'" Bowen recalled.

Stressed out and physically drained, Bowen says long days didn't help and lingering job-related problems seemed to be getting the better of him.

"Laidlaw has been a big disappointment and a big contributor to this decision," he noted.

Since last fall, Bowen has worked with the bus company on improving service. He says mounting complaints got the better of him. "That has to be the point when I felt responsible for kids standing on street corners for an hour or two, and I want to thank parents who placed confidence in me."

Laidlaw may have been a headache, but Bowen says he was proud of his 4 1/2 years, which he claims to have saved the district money and solved long-time facility issues. "This has been a very rewarding experience for me," he said.

He was passed over for superintendent after John O'Sullivan left the job. He admits that hurt, but he says the calls he is getting now that his resignation is making news shows him how much people appreciated the work he did for the Savannah-Chatham school district.

"I cannot thank those parents and principals who have called," he said. "I appreciate that."

Bowen's last day will be March 31. He plans on taking a three-week trip to Korea, exploring some job opportunities and maybe even staying in Savannah and looking for a job in the education field here.

He joked maybe even become a school beat reporter.

Though he will not be staying on with the district in any capacity, he says he doesn't want it to appear he is abandoning his duties. He will help in any Laidlaw issues if Dr. Lockamy asks for his help. But he is looking for a new opportunity.

Reported by: Don Logana, dlogana@wtoc.com

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