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Superintendent nearing new chapter of life
Dr. Randy Shearouse
Superintendent Dr. Randy Shearouse speaks during the Effingham County Teacher of the Year Banquet at New Ebenezer Retreat Center on Oct. 9. - photo by Mark Lastinger/staff
I think about how blessed I am that I enjoyed every job I ever had.
Dr. Randy Shearouse, superintendent of Effingham County School District

RINCON —  Dr. Randy Shearouse’s recent retirement announcement was like a summertime light bill. It was expected but unwanted.

Shearouse, a popular local figure, said last week that he will surrender his post as superintendent of the Effingham School District in June 2020. He has been with the district for 32 years.

“When (the Effingham County Board of Education and I) redid my last contract about two and a half years ago — nothing was set in stone — but that was our conversation,” Shearouse said after the Oct. 9 Effingham County Teacher of the Year Banquet at New Ebenezer Retreat Center. “My plans were to retire when this contract comes to and end. It feels like it’s the right time.”

Shearouse has no definite retirement plans.

“I’m only 53 so I don’t want to go to the house and get in the rocking chair,” he said. “I like hunting, fishing and all those kinds of things. I’m not quite ready to do that totally, though.”

Shearouse is open to a new job.

“I’d like to do something,” he said. “I like education. I like helping students and kids.

“I will look for whatever opportunities that are out there.”

Shearouse started in the district as a history teacher. He also served as an assistant principal at Marlow Elementary School and principal at Sand Hill Elementary School and Effingham County High School.

“I think about how blessed I am that I enjoyed every job I ever had,” Shearouse said. “When I was a high school principal — (Assistant Superintendent) Dr. (Yancy Ford and I have talked about it many times — I thought that was the best job in the world. I loved it.

“When I was at Sand Hill for eight years —  I got to open that school — I felt like that was the best job in the world.

“This may sound crazy, but I never have days where I dread coming to work.”

The district’s employees have always been instrumental to the superintendent’s career happiness, he said.

“You saw just a part of the great people that we have in our system (during the Teacher of the Year Banquet),” he said. “That number is multiplied many times. We are a large system with 1,800 employees but I feel like we still have a personal touch that I think we need to always have.

“It will be more difficult to maintain that as we get larger but that personal touch is important and something that we really promote.”

The district currently has about 12,400 students and is likely to add 2,000 more in the next decade. He and the board are set to start working on a five-year plan in the spring.

“We’ve got to make plans for our building program moving forward. I think that’s what we really need to focus on,” he said. “We have to think ahead.”

Growth is spurring the need for a new elementary and middle school in the near term. Shearouse has overseen $82 million worth of construction projects since he became superintendent. Those were funded in part by SPLOST.

“We are probably going to have another (SPLOST) vote that we will need the public’s support for,” he said.  

In regard to buildings, the district will be debt free when Rincon Elementary School is paid off soon.

The district has enjoyed many academic successes during Shearouse’s 14-plus years as superintendent.

“I’m really proud of our graduation rate getting over 90 percent,” he said. “That was a goal that we had a long time ago, especially when you look at what it was at one point back in 2006 — about 60-something percent.

“We have gradually increased that over time.”

SAT scores in Effingham County are also higher that the state and national averages.