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School board pays tribute to Otis Ellenburg Jr., former principal, assistant superintendent
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Second from right, Sammy Smith, Gainesville City Schools Board of Education member, takes a moment during the school board meeting on Monday, Oct. 21 to honor Otis Ellenburg Jr., a former assistant Gainesville superintendent who died last week. - photo by Kelsey Podo

Silence fell over a packed gym at Enota Multiple Intelligences Academy on Monday, Oct. 21, as people took a moment to reflect on the legacy Otis Ellenburg Jr. left at Gainesville City Schools.

Ellenburg  died on Oct. 16 after a long battle with cancer. He served the district for five years as principal of what was once called Gainesville Jr. High School and 25 years as Gainesville’s assistant superintendent. 

Sammy Smith, Gainesville City Schools Board of Education member, said he found it fitting to honor him during the school board meeting at Enota.

“His four children came through Enota,” Smith said with a smile. “He had a long and good life.”

When Ellenburg worked as assistant superintendent, Smith said he wore many hats. 

In addition to his main role, Ellenburg was the school system’s personnel director, budget director, compliance director and oversaw the district’s construction.

“I was counting today the important jobs he held as assistant superintendent and there were about 10 different jobs,” Smith said. “...He was quite the disciplinarian and authoritative. He had a wonderful sense of humor and just a warm way of presenting himself and his standards.”