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State schools superintendent to step down

State Superintendent of Education Joe Morton announced his plans for retirement Thursday.

Morton will end his seven and a half year term with the state Department of Education on Aug. 31.

“Education is what I’ve dedicated my entire life to – it’s all I know, so this will be an adjustment for me,” Morton

said. “But the time is right now. After consulting with my family I have decided to step aside. I feel I have come full-circle in my career. I’ve been incredibly blessed to serve the students, educators, and the public of Alabama and I am proud of the work that has been done on their behalf. Despite the fact that our state faces unprecedented challenges, I am comforted by the fact that Alabama has made outstanding gains in educational progress in recent years. I am also reassured knowing I leave the students of this state in very competent hands of an incredible staff at the State Department of Education and a State Board of Education fully dedicated to the academic achievement of Alabama’s students.”

Morton has been an educator for 42 years, beginning as a classroom teacher in Jefferson County and becoming the youngest superintendent in Alabama history at the age of 27, leading the Sumter County school system. He later served as superintendent of Sylacauga City school system for more than 17 years. In 1995 Morton accepted the position of Deputy State Superintendent under State Superintendent Ed Richardson. In 2004, following Richardson’s departure, the Alabama State Board of Education voted unanimously to name Morton as Alabama’s 39th state superintendent of Education.

During his tenure at the State Department of Education, Morton created and co-founded the Alabama Reading Initiative; the Alabama Math, Science, and Technology Initiative; and the Alabama Connecting Classrooms Educators and Students Statewide —Alabama’s Distance Learning Initiative.