There will be big shoes to fill in Pell City as Bobby Hathcock leaves the job he has done there since 2002 as the superintendent of the city’s school system.
Hathcock gave employees the news on their first day back after Christmas break, and plans to formally submit his resignation to the board of education at the regular board meeting later this month.
With 39 years in education behind him, he’s looking forward to going into retirement. But he isn’t going far. Plans are to stay in Pell City, a community where he feels right at home.
Much of Hathcock’s career before coming to Pell City was in athletics. His coaching career began at his high school alma mater, where he coached both basketball and football.
He also coached men’s basketball at Brewer State Community College (now Bevill State) where he earned a reputation as a disciplinarian. He was inducted into the Fayette County Sports Hall of Fame in 2009.
He also won an Excellence in Education Leadership award as superintendent of the Fayette County School System in 2000, and he was the recipient of the 2001-2002 Dennis Sabo Memorial Fellowship from Auburn University’s College of Education while he was a doctoral student in educational leadership. He participated in the West Alabama Learning Coalition, and he was accepted to serve on the state Superintendent of Education’s Advisory Council.
He makes no bones about the challenges of running a school system. It’s a demanding job. But he met the challenges in city head on, and hopes the board can hire his successor for a transition period before his July 31 departure, so the new superintendent won’t be “behind the eight ball.”
During Hathcock’s tenure in Pell City, the system has spent close to $35 million in construction, renovation and land purchases for future growth. The system had 43 portable classrooms in use when he arrived — now there are none.
He saw growth coming to the city, and helped plan ahead to be ready for it.
Students in the school system have been more successful in earning scholarships with Hathcock at the helm. During his second year, seniors were awarded about a million in scholarship funding. In recent years, that figure has been closer to five million dollars.
Hathcock has thanked past and present school board members, staff members and the city for their support during what he calls “the highlight of his career” — his work in Pell City.
We commend Hathcock for the work he has done for the staff and students of the Pell City school system, and wish him all the best as he closes out his career and in his retirement.
It’s been a good run.