Rodney Shotwell named new interim superintendent

Shannon Register to remain on staff

RAEFORD — The Hoke County Schools Board of Education met Wednesday, July 5, where they introduced HCS’s new interim superintendent, Rodney Shotwell.

The board had announced that Shotwell would be the new Hoke County Schools Interim Superintendent on June 30, after previous-Interim Superintendent Shannon Register’s contract ended on the same date.

Register had been serving as the Interim Superintendent following the resignation of Debra Dowless in February following a two-year stint.

“Dr. Register served with us for the past few months, and it’s been a blast,” said Chairwoman Angela Southerland. “Dr. Register has been good to this board in spite of what’s been said and what’s been seen. She’s been an inspiration. I’m just grateful that she took the opportunity to help us. She’s done great things for this county, she loves the children, and she loves the staff.”

Shotwell has prior superintendent experience, having served at Macon County Schools from 2001 to 2006 and Rockingham County Schools from 2006 to his retirement in 2022.

“During the interview, we were breathless,” Southerland said. “We loved his energy; we loved pretty much everything about him. Everything he had to say, everything that he’s done. So, we know that Dr. Shotwell is going to take us places.”

At the meeting, Shotwell took the time to address the board as well as the public.

“To all the people in Hoke County, it is an honor and a privilege to be here to work with your children and your staff,” Shotwell said. “I know it may sound cliche, but the two days that I have been here have been a great feeling. People in this county and the people that are working in the school system, the teachers that I’ve seen come through; I am so excited about the opportunity.

“People ask, ‘Why, after you’ve been a Superintendent for 21 years, why come back in the game? Didn’t you get enough of it?’ But what they don’t realize is that it’s not about me; it’s about the children. I had a wonderful mentor [during] my first year teaching that said, ‘If you make decisions in the best interest of the children, you’re going to be right 99.5% of the time.’

“I knew whenever I had the opportunity to come back down here that it’s still going to be the same type of love and caring that I experienced. Are we going to have things we’re going to run into? Absolutely. But you know what, we’re going to run into it, we’re going to talk about it, and we’re going to work through it. I’m just excited about being here. I know I’m only temporary, but I’m still excited about being here.”

Shotwell will not serve as the permanent superintendent, and the search for a new one will continue.

The Hoke County Schools Board of Education will next meet August 8.