SUMMERVILLE, S.C. (WCBD) – After decades of leading education in Dorchester District 2, Superintendent Joe Pye announced his plans to retire at the end of the school year.

“I announced that after 52 years,” said Pye. “A very emotional decision, but I decided it was time for me to retire.”

Pye believes he, and the district, are in a good place.  “We just moved into this district office and it was the last of the building projects from the referendum we did some years ago,” he said.

Ironically, when Pye moved into the new office a few weeks ago, he moved into the same place he taught when he took his first job in Dorchester District 2 as a teacher. His officer area was his classroom back then, at what was called Rollins Elementary.

“I love teaching, I just love the process of teaching,” he said. “But I love the interaction with kids.”

But it’s time for other things now.

“I have a 95-year-old father who needs looking after. Also, I haven’t had any family time—my whole life has been the school system,” he said.

Some of his biggest adjustments were when he started with the district. Learning to relate to high school students and teachers. His teaching background was with younger students.

“And the pandemic, of course, brought on new challenges,” he said.

He shared some of his proudest moments: “Probably my greatest, some of the greatest successes, passing that referendum years ago. The Bellmore Score was important. I was named Superintendent of the Year a few years back, that was quite an honor for me.”

Then having a school named after him tops the cake — Joe Pye Elementary.

Pye said he is leaving whoever takes over in good hands. “There will be a supporting cast here that is second to none. I have the best staff. And of course, when getting out to the schools, I have the best teachers. We have fantastic teachers.”

So, what’s next?

“I’ll be honest with you; I had this thing last night I know I would love to teach again. But at my age, 74, I guess if they get desperate and they can’t find someone.”

What does he hope people think of as they remember the 52 years that Joe Pye spent in education? “This man dedicated his whole life to this job, giving 100%. Never forgetting where I came from,” he said.

But perhaps traveling with his wife, Patsy, will suffice.

Pye will continue to be the superintendent here in Dorchester District 2 until the end of the school year.