Shenandoah County School Board names acting superintendent

By Kim Walter

The Shenandoah County School Board has appointed Kevin C. Castner as acting superintendent starting July 1.

Castner, 65, has a “wealth of experience” when it comes to school-related issues, according to Gary Rutz, School Board chairman.

Rutz said the board looked outside of the division for an acting superintendent, and chose from names provided by the Virginia School Boards Association.

The position became available after Superintendent B. Keith Rowland announced he would retire at the end of June. Rowland has been the division superintendent since 2007, and has worked in Virginia public schools for more than 30 years.

Board member Karen Whetzel said Castner has been a teacher, assistant principal, principal at two different high schools, and deputy superintendent for curriculum and instruction, all in Maryland.

He was the superintendent of Albermarle County Public Schools for 10 years until he retired in 2005, she added.

Currently, Castner is an educational planning strategist with Cambridge Strategic Services and SHW Group, consisting of architects, engineers and planners.

Rutz said the agreement with Castner keeps him as acting superintendent until October, at which point the board would like to find a permanent replacement. During that time, Castner will receive $5,000 a month, as well as $5,000 performance bonus. The board will determine the bonus by rating his performance.

Castner also will get $260 for housing, taxes and fees every week.

If a permanent superintendent isn’t found by October, Rutz said Castner might continue working for the school system on a month-to-month basis.

During the month of July, as Castner familiarizes himself with the area, Rowland will work as a “private contractor,” providing educational consultation. The school board announced the decisions during its meeting earlier this month.

Rowland will be paid $8,600 for the month’s work.

Rutz said Castner started going into the division’s administrative office on Monday, even though he doesn’t officially begin work until Monday. At that point, Castner will begin taking appointments.

When it came to choosing Castner, Rutz said there wasn’t one thing in particular about his background that necessarily stuck out to the School Board. Instead, it was a culmination of his experiences, Rutz said.

“There’s one thing that is very important to us, and it’s that we didn’t want someone in the position just to set it on cruise control,” he said. “We wanted someone who will continue to work on progressing Shenandoah County Public Schools, and he was happy to do that.”

Contact staff writer Kim Walter at 540-465-5137 ext. 191, or kwalter@nvdaily.com