By SCOTT MCKIE B.P.
ONE FEATHER STAFF
After four years on the job and almost four decades in the leadership chair, Dr. Scott Penland is hanging up his boots as Superintendent of the Cherokee Central Schools. He came to the position on July 8, 2013 following 32 years as Superintendent of Clay County Schools.
“There were several factors that went into making the decision to retire,” said Dr. Penland. “This is a decision I have been contemplating for the last three years. I have been a superintendent for the past 36 years, and it is a 24/7/365 job.”
Time with family is something he is looking forward to in retirement.
“My first grandchild is four months old and lives about seven hours away. I am 64-years-old and am really looking forward to some free time and time with the grandson. I want the opportunity to do as little or as much as I want to.”
Dr. Penland said his time at Cherokee has been enjoyable. “When I came here, I agreed to stay one year. Needless to say, it has now been four years. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time here. The students, faculty, staff, and community have been great. The current School Board is wonderful. They truly want what is best for the students and do not micromanage the staff. We have good strong leaders in the schools as well as the central office.”
He related he will remain in his position until the Cherokee School Board has a new Superintendent in place, probably sometime in May or June.
“Mr. Penland came to Cherokee Central Schools with a wealth of knowledge and experience that helped him establish stability among the leadership and increase morale among the staff,” said Debora Foerst, Cherokee High School principal. “Everything he did and all decisions he made while here at Cherokee Central Schools were done so with the students as the focus. I would be remiss if I did not mention his wife, Kathy. She, too, has been not only a wonderful support for him but for us as well. I consider us blessed for having the opportunity to work with the both of them for four years. I know Mr. Dr. Penland will continue to help us as we search for a new superintendent to help carry on the very important work we have before us, but he will certainly be missed.”
Gloria Griffin, Cherokee School Board, echoed Foerst’s sentiments. “I hate to lose such an asset to our school, but I understand that he wants to spend time with his family and do some travel before he gets to where he can’t do those things he wants to do. I wish him the best. He has helped us move forward on a lot of issues and we are in a good place due to Dr. Penland assistance and I wish him the best in his retirement.”
Dr. Penland was named the 1996 North Carolina Superintendent of the Year and was twice named the Western Regional Superintendent of the Year. He received a bachelor’s degree in biology, a master’s of arts degree in administration, and an Ed.S degree in administration, all from Western Carolina University.
Dr. Penland leaves with good thoughts for Cherokee. “There is still work to be done, and if I was 10 years younger, I would gladly stay 10 more years, but that’s not the case. I hope we can find a good replacement for this position and continue to move forward. I wish for nothing but the best for the Cherokee School System.”