CONCORD, N.C. (AP) - Cabarrus County Schools Superintendent Barry Shepherd is retiring effective April 1st, the school system announced Monday, and on Thursday Shepherd sat down with WBTV to talk about his decision to leave.
"To me it's not sudden," Dr. Shepherd said. "I've been thinking for a year now that either beginning April 1 which is when I'm eligible to retire, or maybe on through, I was considering staying for another year, but circumstances in my life changed."
Those circumstances include the graduation of Shepherd's daughter, and the chance to work more closely with a musical group.
"My youngest daughter has been working with a Drum & Bugle Corp out of Nashville, Tennessee," Shepherd added. "It's called Music City Drum & Bugle Corp and the parent company of that is Music City Youth & Arts and I've been doing volunteer work with them and I'm going to take on a larger capacity with them."
Shepherd informed the Cabarrus County Board of Education of his retirement prior to a Board's Business Meeting.
Shepherd has served as the school system's superintendent for more than 7 years, since February of 2008. Shepherd was previously the superintendent of Elkin City Schools. Before that, he was an assistant superintendent in Mooresville Graded School District.
"He has led the district through unprecedented growth, opening eight new schools and launching a myriad of innovative programs designed to attract and retain students and families. During his tenure, the school system has faced staggering budget cuts and dealt with confounding changes to public school laws," the school system posted on their website.
"I hope they remember that we came through this dark recession and out students are performing better on the other end and I'm very proud of that," Shepherd added.
Shepherd is quick to deflect a lot of the praise that could come his way, instead giving the pat on the back to his staff and the principals and teachers in the schools.
"We can do all the directing from the school office," Shepherd added. "But if you don't have good principals and good teachers that are willing to step up their game and as technology improves, as standards become more rigorous, if they're not willing to train and and retrain and get better at what they do, all the work I can do as a superintendent would be in vain."
Shepherd also had high praise for the various Boards of Education for which he has worked, and for the citizens of Cabarrus County.
Cabarrus County Schools says Shepherd, a Wilkes County native, is a graduate of Appalachian State University, where he received a bachelor's degree in music education and a master's degree in educational leadership. He also received a doctoral degree in education in New York, at Columbia University.
Shepherd told WBTV that he will consider other superintendents positions in the future, but for now, while remain in the Concord and Charlotte areas.