School CFO retires after 25 years

Published 7:32 pm Thursday, December 20, 2018

LaFAYETTE – A longtime Chambers County School District official will step down in January.

Chambers County School District Chief Financial Officer Cathy Gregory Pitts was honored Wednesday by the school district for her 25 years of continuous service.

Pitts is a native of Chambers County who graduated from Valley High School in 1977 before attending Southern Union State Community College. While working for a local insurance company, she was encouraged to pursue a degree in accounting.

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She enrolled at Troy University and graduated with two degrees in accounting and computer information science.

“The school system’s former chief financial officer had announced her retirement, and urged me to apply for the position, which I did,” Pitts said. “On Apr. 1, 1993, I was hired by former school superintendent Leonard Riley, and I’ve been here ever since.”

She said it is a great job and she has worked with some wonderful people.

“I have always been aware of the awesome responsibility that was placed on me, and I’ve tried to fulfill my duties to the full expectations of the school board,” she said.

In retirement, Pitts plans to travel, do volunteer work and serve as a mentor for future financial officers around the state throughout the Alabama Association for School Business Officials. She said she is also looking to spend more time with her four children and five grandchildren.     

“Cathy is one of the most knowledgeable people I have ever worked with,” Chambers County School Superintendent Dr. Kelli Hodge said.

“She is primarily responsible for the school district’s financial stability over the past 25 years. She has maintained the highest business and ethical standards, and we will greatly miss her.”

Pitts will be replaced by Cassandra Dowdell as the district’s new CFO starting next month.

Dowdell worked with Opelika City Schools for ten years and then went back to school for her master’s degree.

Before her stop in Chambers County, she was the CFO for the Monroe County Schools.

I’m very excited about this opportunity, which also allows me to get back closer to home,” Dowdell said. “I look forward to serving in this new capacity.”

The CFO is responsible for the management of the school system’s annual budget, including payroll, operating expenses and facilities maintenance.