A veteran of Sampson County Schools, Timothy Register is seeking to return to the system he served for three decades.
“The timing just seemed right,” Register remarked in a phone interview this week. He filed on Friday. “My family has over 100 years of service to Sampson County Schools. I think it’s important to try to keep good folks on the school board and with (two members) choosing not to run again, I felt the timing was right for me.”
A resident of Garland, Register is one of five people who have filed for election to three open board seats. Glenn Tart and Fay Gay are not seeking another term, while Sonya Powell has filed for re-election (see related story on A1 for full list of filings).
Register’s father- and mother-in-law Gene and Dorothy Hart had 50 years of service to local schools between them, while their daughter, Tim’s wife Lynn, had 30 of her own. Gene Hart was a longtime Sampson County Schools Board of Education member, and was part of the first elected board. Dorothy was a home economic teacher. To add to that, Register’s daughter-in-law Jessica has been teaching for more than a decade.
Register himself retired with just under 30 years of accomplished service.
“It’s well over 100 years we’ve put in with the school system,” he stated. “During my career, I worked for nine different principals, seven different superintendents, lots and lots of board members. I learned from all of them. I worked as a teacher, coach, assistant principal, principal, director at the county office level and, when I retired, I was an assistant superintendent.”
“At some time or another, I worked at all four of the county’s school district,” Register attested.
He started out as a young teacher in the Midway district before moving on to Halls-Piney Grove School in the Hobbton district. He then taught at Garland High School, Clear Run Middle School and Union High School, all in the Union district. From there, he was assistant principal at Lakewood High School and then served as Union Elementary’s principal before going to the county office.
A history major in college, Register was primarily a Social Studies teacher, but as with his many capacities at various locations, Register taught and coached it all.
“I’ve taught everything from math to Social Studies when the need arose,” he stated. “I coached baseball, basketball and football at some point or another.”
Little more than a decade retired from the school system, Register has long had a vested interest in the schools, one that is renewed. Register has three grandchildren, son Matt and daughter-in-law Jessica’s three children. Their daughter is at Union Intermediate, while their two sons will both start kindergarten within the next couple years.
“Obviously I’m interested in them being able to receive a good quality education — the best we can provide,” said Register, “but I’m interested in making sure every child in Sampson County gets the very best education they can.”
He said that interest spans all districts, not just his own in Union. When Fay Gay — he calls her and late husband Nathan “dear friends” — decided she would step down, he felt compelled to step up to be a voice for the school staff and students.
“A lot of what we’ve seen lately seems to devalue our public schools, our teachers and other staff members. I don’t think that’s the case at the local level, but you have to make sure you have folks at the local level who are going to protect the interests of those employees,” said Register. “I’ve always been of the opinion that if you’re doing something good for a teacher, you’re doing something good for kids.”
Register retired as assistant superintendent of auxiliary services, covering the support end that includes technology, child nutrition, plant operations, finance and other aspects that provide everyday support for the school system.
“I think we need some folks to stand up and try to do what’s right for them, especially for teachers and other staff members,” he said. “Teaching is a profession that needs to be supported at all levels, and the support staff that goes with it.”
Not a stranger to public service, Register serves as chairman of the Town of Garland’s Planning Board and is a past member of the State Employees Credit Union Advisory Board. He is also a bivocational minister, pastoring at Shiloam Baptist in Garland for nearly 33 years as well as being a licensed commercial real estate broker for about the past decade.
Being involved in commercial development and construction for the last 10 years gives him added experience to bring to the board. Along with his many duties during his three decades with Sampson County Schools, Register also served as the interim finance officer for a time when the position was vacant.
“I just feel like I have a broad experience that I’ll be able to draw from to help this school board and the superintendent make the best decisions we can,” he asserted. “We need to make sure that we can work together as a team — from school board, parents, teachers and administrators — all working for the common good of our kids.”
Reach Managing Editor Chris Berendt at 910-249-4616. Follow the paper on twitter @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.