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Hildreth moves on


By Monroe Roark
Times Correspondent

  Monday was not an ordinary day in the office of Dr. Ethan Hildreth.

  It was the final day of this 39-month tenure as superintendent of the Henry County School System. Rodney Bowler, his successor, began in that position the very next day, and today he will participate in his first Board of Education meeting as superintendent. Bowler’s appointment was announced by the school board a few months ago, giving both men plenty of time to work on the transition.

Dr. Ethan Hildreth has stepped down as superintendent of the Henry County School System. Rodney Bowler has been selected as the new superintendent.                      Special photo

  Hildreth spent most of Monday wrapping up some business matters and administrative tasks, and he said by phone Monday afternoon that he still planned to take some time to go around and say goodbye to various coworkers.

  “I’m not involved in any long-term projects right now,” he said with a chuckle.

  He is not leaving Henry County, where his family has lived for more than two decades. He began with the school system as a teacher, then was a principal and assistant superintendent before taking his final position that completed his 23-year stint with the district.

  His wife is also an educator, formerly with Henry County public schools before starting her own business offering tutoring and academic summer camps. Her battle with cancer was publicized locally a few years ago, and Hildreth noted that she is now cancer-free. “We are thankful for that, and she is doing great,” he said.

  As for his own future plans, he will be working with his oldest son who has an online business, and he is also taking a position with the Griffin Regional Educational Service Agency (RESA), which serves eight counties on the south side of Atlanta and provides educational leadership and support through various services.

  Hildreth said he is proud of the way the school system has increased its education options during his tenure to provide more flexibility for students.

  “We’ve been able to energize and create new learning pathways for students, to expand educational options for children and their parents,” he said, noting specifically the significant increase in dual enrollment and such initiatives as the Academy for Advanced Studies and Impact Academy, along with programs at specific schools such as the Mandarin immersion at Dutchtown Elementary and the new charter programs at Hickory Flat and Hampton elementary schools.

  Doing all of this as well as managing the regular responsibilities of the school system during times of economic slowdown that led to decreased funding has been particularly challenging but also rewarding, he added.

  “We’ve had great financial challenges, but in the face of that we’ve been able to make some very positive things happen,” he said. “That’s been a challenge we’ve had to overcome, but I feel like we’ve been able to successfully do that.”

  The Board of Education’s regular monthly work session is today at 4 p.m. instead of next week due to spring break. The regular meeting is set for Monday, April 14, at 7 p.m.



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