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Teacher turned finance officer retiring after 40 years

After working 40 years with Halifax County Public Schools, Chief Financial Officer William “Bill” R. Covington will resign effective July 1.

A graduate of the University of Virginia with an undergraduate degree in business and a master’s degree in education administration, Covington started his four decade career in the classroom teaching seventh grade math and then later ran the first computer lab in the county before he will finish his career as chief financial officer.

“It’s been a challenge and a privilege. Public education is the foundation of any community, and it is so critical to try and produce a workforce and educate students to go forth and still attract industries to Halifax County,” said Covington.

Making the decision to retire was not a difficult one for Covington, who said he has been pondering the idea most of the school year.

However, according to the tenured administrator, many things came together to solidify the decision that was confirmed for him personally the first of the year.

“I’ve had a long career that I’ve enjoyed. I’ve enjoyed working with all the people, but many changes have taken place, and I thought it might be a good time to allow for younger people to move into areas of responsibilities,” said Covington.

“There are a lot of changes coming to the general retirement system and the school system. It was just a good time to step aside. Personally it was just the right time for me to retire,” he added.

Throughout his many years with the school system Covington said he has seen many changes, one being the use of technology in the school. Remembering the years before there were enough computers for teachers and administrators, now Covington said he enjoys seeing the progress.

“Through the years I’ve seen the students change, and over the years the challenges for the teachers and employees are much greater than when I started in education,” said Covington.

If he could change one thing about his four-decade career, Covington said, “I just wish I had the power to change, and then I would just change the economy so the school system could move forward, but it’s hard to do so without funding. I’m sorry for the employees who haven’t had a raise in four, almost five years.”

After his departure, Covington has hopes the future outlook of the school system will improve.

He hopes the economy will improve, and the school system will receive the funding it deserves. He also hopes employees will receive the salary and benefits they deserve, the students will continue with their education, and the school system will get talented and eager leaders, and the county will improve as an attractive place to live and work.

According to Covington, he has always enjoyed working with people and the extremely dedicated employees of the school system, but the lows come when the budget is as difficult as it has been, and “we still have to find a way to provide the education for students and the community when the funds just aren’t there.”

He said he is “proud to be associated with the school employees, but some of the most difficult times have been the economic times of the last four years, and I’m sorry to end my career in one of the most difficult budget years.”

Covington plans to fill his retirement days with a number of hobbies he enjoys including woodworking, cycling, gardening and a number of home improvement projects.

His family supports his decision and looks forward to him being able to do more including the ever so familiar, “to do list.”

Although Covington is not sure what will happen to his vacated position, he  said he feels somebody will have to take over.

“I don’t think you can go without having someone to monitor the schools finances,” but at this time no one has been mentioned to take his place, and he’s heard no word if a replacement will be hired.

Covington said he has no plans at this time to return to the school system other than to fulfill his retirement obligations.

The retiring chief financial officer for the school system resides in Halifax with his wife, Margaret, and they have two children, Ned and Katherine.

“I will miss many things about the job, the people and associations I’ve met through the years, the sense of accomplishment and being able to help the children and the citizens,” Covington said.