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Dean bittersweet about leaving Butler County

“Torn” is the word Joseph Dean uses to describe his feelings as he prepares to take on principal duties at Escambia County High School.

After serving as principal of Georgiana High School/Butler County Magnet School and then stepping into Mike Looney’s shoes in fall 2009 to serve as interim superintendent for Butler County School System, Dean says he feels ready to take on the challenges Escambia County High will offer him.

“I am thrilled about this opportunity. Like every school, there is room for improvement there, and I have promised them the best I have to offer. I feel with the experience I’ve had, I can do a good job,” Dean said Friday.

While he is looking forward to the new challenges offered at the school, he admits he feels bittersweet about saying goodbye to Butler County.

“I have to say the people in Georgiana are almost like a family to me. They allowed me to do my job, to discipline their kids – they would even call me if they were having problems at home with the kids. I have nothing but praise for the people in Georgiana,” Dean said.

“I will be forever grateful to them. I want them to know it is nothing they have done that led me to make this decision. I will say this: I did everything that was asked of me in my job. I did my part. I really feel that is true in my heart, though some may disagree.”

Dean described himself as being “sad on one side of the fence, and glad on the other.”

“I am excited about this new opportunity in Monroe County, but I am also sad to be leaving these people and relationships. The friendships I have established in Butler County will forever be close to my heart.”

Superintendent Darren Douthitt, who has publicly commended Dean for all his assistance during Douthitt’s transition to Butler County, said he will hate to see Dean go.

At its most recent meeting, Dean was lauded by the Butler County BOE for his “integrity, honesty and forthrightness” while serving as interim principal.

“I think he has done an outstanding job dealing with some very, very difficult situations. I’m not sure where we would be without his leadership the last five or six months,” said BOE member Joe Lisenby.