Rock Hill schools announces new superintendent after unexpected resignation

·2 min read
Fort Mill administrator Tommy Schmolze has been named the new superintendent of the Rock Hill South Carolina school district.

The search for a new Rock Hill schools superintendent is over.

The district’s board of trustees met Saturday evening and determined Tommy Schmolze, who currently serves as the Fort Mill School District assistant superintendent, will lead York County’s second largest school district, according to a press release.

Schmolze will replace Bill Cook after he unexpectedly resigned one week into the new school year. Cook, who had been the district’s superintendent since 2018, announced during a board meeting that he was stepping down from his post effective immediately. The district has about 18,000 students.

Schmolze has almost three decades of experience in York County schools. He’s worked as a teacher and administrator, and in recent years has been involved in opening numerous new schools in Fort Mill amid its rapid population growth. Schmolze has been a past superintendent finalist in Rock Hill and Clover.

“The board is very excited about tonight’s decision, and we are all in agreement that Dr. Schmolze is the perfect fit for our community and our students,” board chair Helena Miller said. “He is coming home to the district that he first started at, and we know that our district will be in excellent hands under his leadership.”

Schmolze will begin his role at the end of January or as soon as he can be released from his Fort Mill Schools contract, district officials said during Saturday’s meeting.

During the meeting, Miller called Schmolze to notify him of the board’s decision.

“I am so excited,” Schmolze said over speaker phone. “This is the moment I’ve been waiting for my entire career. I started here in Rock Hill ... and I get to come back home. This is amazing.”

Last week, the board announced it had narrowed its search down to Schmolze and Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools deputy superintendent Matthew Hayes.

Rock Hill schools’ chief academic and accountability officer John Jones served as interim superintendent after Cook’s resignation. Jones will return to his former role, the release said.

“We look forward to Dr. Schmolze and him working together on a smooth transition for our staff and district during January,” Miller said. “Dr. Jones continues to be a cherished employee.”