Rowland Says It’s His Time

Schools Head Retiring

Posted: May 15, 2013

“I have been told that ‘you will know when it is time,’” said Shenandoah County Public Schools Superintendent Keith Rowland as he announced his retirement late last week after six years on the job.

“I believe that it is now my time to go,” he said.

Rowland, 58, said Monday he does not have any particular plans for after July 31, which will be his last day as head of the school division.

“I think right now we are just waiting to see how things materialize,” he said.

In a letter that Rowland read aloud during a Shenandoah County School Board meeting Thursday, he said stepping down from the position was “in the best interest of my family and those who provide me with the highest level of support.”

Rowland’s wife, Kelly, is a teacher at an elementary school in Frederick County. They live in Woodstock, however, with their daughter.

He said that the decision was not an easy one, coming after many hours of thought and deliberation.

Before coming to Shenandoah County in 2007, Rowland served as director of elementary and instructional technology for Radford City Public Schools.

His first job in education was as a teacher in Giles County 36 years ago. Rowland taught English, physical education and driver’s ed.

As Shenandoah County superintendent, he earned a salary of $116,700 excluding benefits. He supervises more than 984 employees within a division that included 6,073 students.

The operating budget for Shenandoah County Schools for the 2014 fiscal year comes in at $56.86 million.

“I’m proud of a lot of things we accomplished [in the last six years]. Shenandoah County has provided me with a very rewarding experience,” Rowland said. “I’m happy to have been given that opportunity.”

School Board Chairman Gary Rutz said Tuesday that the announcement came as a surprise and he will be sad to see Rowland go.

“He is a down-to-earth person that would do anything for anybody,” Rutz said. “He is a good communicator and a very likable person.”

In the wake of the sudden announcement, Rutz said board members have yet to make any decisions regarding a search for a replacement. More information may be available after the board meets in closed session next Tuesday.

Conrad Helsley, chairman of the Shenandoah County Board of Supervisors, wished Rowland a “very enjoyable retirement” at the board meeting Tuesday morning. Helsley praised Rowland’s efforts to revitalize the former Edinburg Middle School.

“The Edinburg School project would not have existed without you,” he told Rowland. “You did an awful lot of legwork [particularly] with finding and working with the Charterhouse School.”

The school is scheduled to reopen in the fall as a learning center for children with autism and emotional disabilities. Charterhouse School, a Richmond-based education provider, was selected in August to run the facility. 

The renovation will cost an estimated $4.5 million, according to the county.

Contact Kaitlin Mayhew at 574-6290 or

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