MICHELLE T. BERNARD
Dr. Sherry Hoyle has announced that she will retire in July as superintendent of Lincoln County Schools. Hoyle has served as superintendent since 2011.
“I was finishing my 31st year and I just felt like it was time,” she said. “I invested all my career in Lincoln County, beginning as a teacher, and I just have a heart for the kids, the teachers and other employees. It was a natural progression for me to move into other positions within the district and ultimately as superintendent.”
Hoyle said she believes that perhaps the most challenging part of being superintendent was the balancing act and that it has continually been a professional challenge for her because work always came before family.
“After I leave, I’ll have to find ways to get my ‘kid fix,” said Hoyle, who has no children of her own. “When I’m able to, I’ll definitely be volunteering at the schools.”
When she moved into the district office, Hoyle’s duties shifted into an administrative role and she said that she always felt an important part of her position was finding time to be with the children. To accomplish that, she is present at many of the extra-curricular activities attended by Lincoln County students such as sporting events and other competitions and performances.
“I guess I shouldn’t be amazed by the talent of our kids,” she said. “Whether it’s a sports event, the bands or whatever area. We’re very blessed as a district.”
One of the things that Hoyle wishes she was able to accomplish during her tenure as superintendent is offering a dual diploma option for students, in conjunction with Gaston College.
“We’ve made great gains toward that,” she said. “Afternoon college has been a really good step in the direction. There’s so many opportunities for our kids now.”
Hoyle said that she’s not sure what direction her life will take once she retires but one thing that it won’t include is having to get up at 3:30 a.m. to speak to the director of transportation about the weather.
“I know I’ll be doing something because I’m not going to stop working,” she said. “I’ll probably be back in the schools in a more relaxed role.”
The board will meet on Feb. 22 to discuss options for the search process, according to chairman Mark Mullen.
“The North Carolina School Board Association offers superintendent search services,” Mullen said. “The school board association will weed out candidates and we can set up interviews. Our board attorney, Dean Shatley’s law firm, Campbell Shatley, PLLC, also conducts search services and there is more leeway with what they offer. We can also conduct an internal search. We need to discuss what is the best option for the district.”