By Pam Dudding, Contributing Writer
School is no longer just school when students have teachers and administrators who care deeply for them. It becomes more like family when this happens.
After 32 years in public education, Superintendent Jeanette Warwick announced her retirement at the September School Board meeting, effectively November 30, 2021.
“I have decided to retire this fall as the Board has asked me to stay to find a replacement,” she said. “In the 12 years I have been in Craig County, it has been a joy to sign diplomas and to congratulate seniors who were with me when I was principal at the elementary school.”
She added that she could “only hope that I have made a small difference.”
When Warwick started her career 32 years ago, she was “a brand-new teacher” in Norfolk, Virginia. Her husband was stationed in the Navy there.
“I was in an inner-city school that was a great experience, but when we moved back home, which was Roanoke, you don’t go into teaching for the money, as you obviously know. But you go into teaching because you have compassion and a love for kids,” she shared. “I take that with me every day and every decision that I have made as an Administrator over the last number of years, I make the decision as it I were making it for my daughter or my granddaughter. So, I appreciate the opportunity to serve in Craig and I have let the board know that I am willing to help in an advisory nature to help make the transition smooth.”
Many are sad to lose such a priceless treasure.
Warwick ended the meeting with this quote, “A hundred years from now, it will not matter what kind of car I drove, what kind of house I lived in, how much money I had in the bank. The world may be a better place because I made a difference in the life of a child.”
Bellassai thanked Warwick, adding, “I think I speak for the Board when I say you have made much more than a small impact on this school system.”
George Foster added, “If we keep our faith, we will get through it. It won’t be easy.”
He quoted the scripture Hebrews 11:6, “Without faith it is impossible to please God. So, we have faith to pray for guidance.”
Later, School Board members shared their sentiments about Warwick.
Trace Bellassai said, “Jeanette has been a tremendous asset to our school system. The work she has done during her years here has been nothing short of extraordinary. Our next Superintendent will have some big shoes to fill. We hope she can enjoy her retirement to its fullest. She will be truly missed.”
Expressed co-chair Gine Smith, “I have had the pleasure of working with Jeanette for almost four years. Jeanette brought years of excellence in leadership as a teacher, principal, and superintendent. She always made all her decisions for the students of CCPS as though it was for her family. She was so easy to work with and communicated well with all the Board members. The last two years have been hard on everyone, making the most difficult decisions for the safety of our students. She did a fabulous job under the worst circumstances. No other superintendent has ever had to face such a job. She nailed it! You will be greatly missed. I wish you well in your retirement and being a Granny to that sweet little granddaughter. God bless you.”
I personally have been covering the School Board meetings since 2015. It has been my privilege to have gotten to know Jeanette over these years in her different capacities. She is a woman of integrity, honor and compassion. Her words ring so true when she said that she makes every decision as if she were making it for her own children. I have heard so many parents talk of the “huge hole” she will leave at CCPS. Yet, I am one who truly believes, that when someone of this character needs to have their time in their personal life, then with prayer, God will fulfill the shoes for us quite well, which is what I know Jeanette will want as well.
Warwick shared, “I would like to let the community know that I feel honored to have served the families of Craig County Public Schools since 2009 as Elementary Principal, Director of Pupil Personnel Services and as Superintendent since 2016. I am proud that by working together we were able to offer in-person instruction last year with very few closures and continue to do so. I will be working closely with the School Board to find my replacement.”
Jeanette Warwick, on behalf of our community, the staff at CCPS and the students whose lives you have impacted, we wish you many years of laughter, love and treasured family moments. However, keep in touch, as you have also become a friend to many. Shalom!