Schools chief to retire

April 14, 1994|By Mary Gail Hare | Mary Gail Hare,Sun Staff Writer

R. Edward Shilling announced his retirement as superintendent of Carroll County Public Schools yesterday in the room where his appointment was made public seven years ago before many of the same colleagues.

"I have known almost everyone in this room as dedicated colleagues for years," he said. "You have contributed to my success as superintendent of schools."

He praised those people for "the courage to demonstrate support even when the voices were loud and ugly."

Mr. Shilling, 54, said he has no other job lined up. He called his health excellent. He said his resignation fulfills a promise he made to himself when he took over leadership of the schools in 1987.

"I promised I would not lose a sense of priorities and I would be smart enough to know when to leave," he said. "Several fellow superintendents [who stayed too long in their jobs] have made that decision easy for me."

His retirement, effective July 1, comes after the "best year I have experienced as superintendent."

"Test results are the top in the state; the staff is exemplary; and the economic crisis has improved to put the system back on track," he said.

Mr. Shilling is relinquishing an annual salary of nearly $106,000, among the highest in the state.

He mentioned "with all humility" the Golden Apple and State Superintendent of the Year awards he recently won, to "make a point" of the successful year.

He said he had scrapped plans to retire Jan. 1 next year, when he determined that that would be "detrimental to focus and leadership and would distract from important educational activity."

The present school board will chose his successor, and that offered him "the most important reason of all" for stepping down in two months, he said.

"They will serve the interests of the children of Carroll County public schools the best," he said.

Two seats on the five-member Board of Education are up for election in November.

Mr. Shilling said he looks forward to new challenges and "will wait to see what happens that suits my priorities."

He ended with a note of encouragement that earned him a lengthy standing ovation.

"A change in leadership is refreshing," he said. "It can energize and create enthusiasm to step up to a new level of excellence."

John Myers, school board president, said Mr. Shilling's decision "shocked all of us."

"We have had no time to digest it," said Mr. Myers. "He will be missed, but we will continue on strongly."

Mr. Myers learned of the decision Tuesday evening. He declined to make any "premature" statement on selecting a successor. The board will meet within the next week, he said.

Cindy Cummings, president of the Carroll County Education Association, said she was surprised Mr. Shilling was retiring with another year on his contract.

"I am disappointed because he has been a real advocate for teachers and the association," she said. Finding a successor will be "tough," she said. "I hope it's someone in county. We have a lot of great potential here."

Brian Lockard, assistant superintendent of instruction, who has worked with Mr. Shilling for 30 years, called him "a man of fantastic vision."

"He thought it was time to leave," Mr. Lockard said. "We may not agree with that decision, but it is an individual choice people make."


R. Edward Shilling, Carroll County schools superintendent, announced yesterday he will retire June 30. Here is a look at his career:

* A graduate of Westminster High School, he has a bachelor's degree (1963) and a master's in administration and supervision from Western Maryland College. He also has a certificate in advanced school management from Loyola College, Baltimore.

* Began teaching English in 1963 at Sykesville Junior-Senior High School.

* Worked for Random House Inc. in Westminster in 1967-1968 as a training director and assistant personnel manager.

* Became first assistant principal of Sykesville Middle School under William R. Ecker, when the school switched from a junior high in 1967, and principal in 1974.

* In 1977, became administrative assistant to the superintendent.

* In 1978, promoted to county supervisor of secondary schools.

* Became assistant superintendent of schools in 1984.

* Appointed superintendent of schools in 1987.

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