Dr. Sue Jones, superintendent of the Brownwood Independent School District since 2001, announced Monday that this will be her last year with the system.

“My resignation, or retirement, will be effective at the end of the 2007-2008 school year,” Jones said in an emotional statement as Monday’s trustees meeting began. “I want to thank my family, the staff members and the board for everything. My plan is to be working with energy and enthusiasm until the last day and uphold the long tradition of Brownwood schools.

“I plan to work just as hard on my last day here as I did on my first day in 1982.”

“I know you’re a person of integrity and I’m convinced that’s exactly what you’ll do,” trustee John Nickols said in acknowledging Jones’ comments.

Jones made the announcement public only hours after she told school administrators of her plans.

Board President Michael Coppic said the board will have a difficult time finding a successor.

Trustee Mark Bradshaw, noting that he was on the school board when it promoted Jones from assistant superintendent to superintendent, said, “I want to thank you for all the progress we’ve made during your service. It’s been tremendous.”

Jones said such praise should be shared by “a whole team of people — 518 employees this year, I believe.” She added that not everything has been positive, alluding to problems the board would be addressing at Monday’s meeting. “But I can’t say enough about the cooperative spirit we have. We can face anything if we don’t give up on each other.”

Her retirement date will coincide with the anticipated August 2008 completion of much of the facility improvements funded by a bond issue approved by voters in February 2005.

Jones, who grew up at May, graduated from Howard Payne University in 1972 and began her 35-year career in education as an English and business teacher at the Brownwood State School, now the Ron Jackson State Juvenile Correctional Complex. In 10 years there, she also served as curriculum coordinator and principal.

She earned her master’s degree from Tarleton State University and her Ph.D. in educational administration from Texas Tech.

She joined the Brownwood school system in 1982 as curriculum coordinator and was named assistant superintendent in 1992 before emerging as the sole candidate for superintendent after a statewide search in 2001, succeeding Dr. Don Martin.

“I have no immediate plans made for what I’ll do after I leave Brownwood schools,” Jones said after the board meeting. “I’m not applying for anything, I’m not looking for anything. I still have work to do in the coming year. But I do believe there will be other ways in which I can serve. That’s what I’ve always considered a career in education to be — service. I don’t know what that service will be, but I do know there are a lot of needs, a lot of places a person can serve.”

Jones said it would be difficult to single out specific accomplishments as proud moments in her six years, so far, as superintendent.

“I don’t know, it all runs together,” Jones said. “It was really special this year to have six out of seven schools rated either exemplary or recognized, plus there have been the Honor Roll campuses recognition and the Blue Ribbon School honor. All of those things are special. There’s not just one thing.”

Jones and her husband, Donald Jones Jr., have two grown children, both of whom attended schools in Brownwood.