DOBSON — Surry County Schools Superintendent Ashley Hinson’s announced retirement plans leaves the board of education gearing up for a new school year and a new superintendent.
Hinson, who has served as superintendent for nine years, announced this plans Monday night.
Chairman Earlie Coe, who was also chairman of the board nine years ago when Hinson was selected, said he is said to see him go.
“We (he and Hinson) worked together and enjoy a pretty good working relationship,” explained Coe. “Together we’ve achieved some goals to upscale the county academically. Statewide, we’re a respected rural school system and I credit a lot of this to his (Hinson’s) ability to interact with people no matter at what level, state or local.”
Coe was complementary of Hinson’s leadership of the school system.
“I have a great amount of respect for him. This didn’t come as a surprise to us. Up front he told us he’d be looking to retire when he reached 60,” said Coe. “I look forward to the future for our system with excitement but I kind of dread the change too.”
The board is scheduled to meet on Aug. 3 to decide a timeline for the selection process to formally begin. A period where applications will be accepted will be one of the steps in this timeline procedure.
Board member Sue Stone has also served on the board for more than the nine years of Hinson’s term as superintendent. She explained that the process ahead of the board could include advertising the position on various media including the internet and within educational circles nationwide.
Stone said that at a certain point the applications will be reviewed by the board and its attorney and candidates will be selected for interviews. A second round of interviews usually follows this and the final decision usually is made afterwards. Shortly the board will meet to decide a timeline for the process. Some estimates predict that a replacement could be found by this Thanksgiving.
She credits Hinson’s leadership with much of the progress made by the school system.
“Our system has made great strides since he’s been here,” said Stone. “Especially the Surry Early College on the SCC campus and he deserves a lot of recognition as far as curriculum changes, the 1:1 laptop initiative, Arts WOW, Surry County Schools Educational Foundation and Surry County Schools Athletic Committee.
“I feel we’ve done a good job of educating children,” added Stone. “Dr. Hinson relates very well to people and that is a plus. He will be missed but we will soldier on. Many of the programs established under his leadership will continue after he is gone. I intend to give careful thought to his replacement. The superintendent sets the tone for a school system’s progress.”
Stone, like Hinson, indicated they have seen education, which has been known to progress at a slow measured rate, change rapidly in the past few years.
“I have seen our children exposed to concepts early on that I didn’t encounter as a student until high school or college,” said Stone. “For instance, the 1:1 computer initiative is going to be expanded to sixth graders this year.”
Stone expressed optimism for Surry County schools.
“It’s an exciting time,” concluded Stone. “You get good leadership and that’s the key. We have exceptional people in our school system, they are just tops.”
Board Vice Chairman Brian Gates has served 10 years on the board and was part of the process that hired Hinson.
“I’ve been with him (Hinson) since day one and It’s been a great ride,” said Gates. “In all honesty, Dr. Hinson has been an advocate for children. He has always looked out for the best interest of our students.”
Gates echoed the sentiments of his fellow board members and Hinson that education has changed from teaching the student’s essentially the same curriculum their parents studied to preparing students to compete globally.
“The changes I have seen just in the ten years I’ve served are just phenomenal,” commented Gates. “I think its very important, too, that Dr. Hinson has been a champion for staff development in regards to technology.”
He said that the school system hasn’t just “rolled out” technology to impress others. He indicated a high value had been placed on training staff to use technology that has been added to improve what is happening in classrooms.
“I am very, very proud of our system,” continued Gates. “With the recent loss of Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction Pat Widdowson as well as Dr. Hinson’s upcoming retirement, we have two big voids to fill. I am confident that our system will continue to shine because of the programs set into place by these individuals.”
He said he has experience with the process for hiring a superintendent and although Hinson will be missed, he looks forward to seeing the quality applicants for the position and bringing on another good leader for Surry County schools.
Gates also had further comments on Hinson’s other attributes.
“Through any issue brought to the table by me for him (Hinson), we have always been able to sit and talk and work through it together,” added Gates. “At the end of the day, I consider him a true friend as well as a superintendent who was a champion for students and the underdogs. I think we’re a better system because we had Ashley Hinson for the past nine years and I feel confident the system will continue to thrive.”
Reach David Broyles at email@example.com or 719-1952.