Darren Doyle, story and photos:
Superintendent of Edmonson County Schools Patrick Waddell is putting in his final day of work at the school board's central office today and friends, family, and coworkers tipped their caps by a wave parade along Wildcat Way.
Coworkers said they'd planned a reception in his honor for this occasion, but the coronavirus pandemic forced other plans. Dozens of cars lined up at ECHS and drove by Waddell and his family as they honked horns, waved, and shouted well wishes. One car even tossed out a gift, which was a neatly wrapped Case pocket knife.
Waddell has been the superintendent in Edmonson County for 16 years. In all his years of education, he's been in this role longer than any other.
"It's bittersweet," Waddell said. "When you work 16 years in one place, especially like this, you make a lot of wonderful relationships."
He also discussed the difficulty that the virus pandemic caused and is causing for the school system.
"I never imagined that I'd have to work through a pandemic in my last year here. It drastically changed so many aspects of what we do, but everyone came together and we've made it this far."
Waddell said that while he will miss everything about Edmonson County Schools, he's looking forward to having the day off tomorrow.
"Well, I'm not going to lie, it will be nice," he said with a laugh. "But I will genuinely miss the people in our school system and this county. This is truly a wonderful place."
Long time educator and administrator Brian Alexander has been chosen to replace Waddell. He will officially be Edmonson County's new Superintendent of Schools on Wednesday, July 1, 2020.