SNEEDVILLE — In an unexpected turn of events, Hancock Co. Director of Schools Tony Seal — who only last month had told the Board of Education that he would like to continue on in that position when his contract expires next year — on Dec. 5, 2019 advised the board that, because of the serious illness of a family member, he will not be seeking a renewal of his contract.

Seal’s current two-year contract expires on June 30, 2020.

At last week’s meeting, an emotional Seal said that he will be retiring to spend more time with his family.

Members of the board thanked Seal for his almost five years of service on behalf of the children of Hancock County and offered their prayers and support to him and his family.

Seal had told the board, at the Nov. 7 meeting, that while retirement had crossed his mind, he was considering staying on as Director for a while to see several ongoing projects come to fruition. At that meeting, the BOE agreed to meet an hour before their regular meeting on Dec. 5 to discuss whether to extend the Director’s contract.

“I want to thank this board for allowing me to serve here for the last four years and 10 months,” Seal said at that earlier meeting. “It’s really been an honor to be here, and to serve our kids and our parents in this school system is as satisfying as anything you could do. I want to thank you all for supporting me because I could not have done it without you all.”

In other matters at the Dec. 5 meeting, the board:

• Heard an update on the principal vacancy at Hancock Co. Elementary School created by the resignation of Brian Greene.

Seal said the position was posted but that, as of Thursday evening, only one application had been received, and that was from someone in Florida.

“We will work to make sure that position is filled by Dec. 16,” he told the board. “Ginger Stapleton is the acting principal and she can legally serve in that role for 20 days.”

• Approved routine budget amendments as presented by Brenda Dalton.

• Heard from Seal that the school system’s pending massive energy efficiency and electrical and plumbing renovation program went for formal review to the State on Dec. 5.

Seal said he feels very confident that the proposal will be funded.

“It went for review today and I think we should know something real soon,” he said.

• The system’s old surplus school buses that were put up for public auction on the website, www.govdeals.com, produced mixed results, Seal said.

One of the vehicles brought $6,400, which was above the “reserve” minimum bid, but the other bids didn’t reach their respective “reserve” amounts and were relisted.

If they don’t sell on www.govdeals.com, Seal said, the system has other options for a possible sale.

The board set Thursday, Jan. 9, 2020, at 7 p.m., for its next meeting.