Henderson County Public Schools’ Superintendent Hardy “Bo” Caldwell has announced his intention to retire on November 30, after he sees the district through its “Return to Learn” process for the 2020-2021 school year.
Caldwell explained he’s making his retirement announcement early in the school year because he wants the Henderson County Board of Public Education to have ample time to prepare for his exit, and to give him time to assist his successor in a smooth transition.
“I realize this announcement comes at an uncertain time in education, but this decision has been a long time coming for my family,” Caldwell said. “My original plan was to retire after seeing my youngest child through high school. She graduated in 2015, and I extended my commitment to the HCPS Family. That commitment hasn’t changed, and now I fully intend to see our students, families, and staff through the unprecedented process of returning to school before retiring.”
A product of HCPS, Caldwell will have spent 36 years dedicated to the school system that raised him, serving as a teacher, coach, assistant principal, principal, central office administrator and superintendent.
After graduating from West Henderson High, Caldwell earned his Bachelor of Science in Mathematics from Mars Hill College in 1984 and taught mathematics at Edneyville High until 1990, when he became Assistant Principal at Flat Rock Junior High.
From 1993 to 1995, Caldwell was Principal at Atkinson Elementary, and in 1995 he became Principal at Apple Valley Middle. In 2002, he transferred to Central Office and served as Senior Director of Facility Management through 2010. In 2010, Caldwell was named Senior Director of Human Resources, and in 2014 became Assistant Superintendent of Administrative Services. In addition to his undergraduate degree, Caldwell holds a Masters of Arts in Education and an Educational Specialist Degree from Western Carolina University.
“Mr. Caldwell has given 36 years of his life to this school system, and has truly been a champion of education in this community,” said School Board Chair Blair Craven. “Especially in these hard times, he’s done an absolutely phenomenal job leading this school system.”
Craven added that Caldwell’s leadership style has greatly benefitted the culture of HCPS. “He gives everyone a voice at the table, when it comes to making the best decisions for the kids of Henderson County. Because he understands the group is greater than one person.”
Caldwell has spent his time as Superintendent advocating for students and educators in Henderson County through his leadership on the Henderson County Board of Public Health, Henderson County Partnership for Economic Development (HCPED) Board, and North Carolina School Superintendents Association (NCSSA) Executive Board. Honors to his service include the 2017 North Carolina Student Based Health Alliance’s “Superintendent of the Year,” HCPED’s 2018 “Partner of the Year,” selection as “Best Boss” in the 2018 Best of Blue Ridge Awards, and his participation in the NCSSA Next Generation Superintendent Development Program 2017-2020 cohort.
Craven said the Board of Education will begin the process of finding the next Superintendent immediately.