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Commissioners Higdon, Shearl lead charge to elect Gary Shields as next Chairman

After serving as Chairman of the Macon County Board of Commissioners for the past year, Commissioner Paul Higdon made the motion to appoint Gary Shields to serve as the next Chairman.

“It has been an honor to serve this last year and try to get these five independent thinkers on the same page,” said Higdon during the December meeting of the board. “There ain’t nobody that can do that., but we’re here to represent the people and I’m glad we have independent thinkers and outspoken individuals… it gives me great pride and great honor to nominate MR. Gary Shields as chairman of the board of the coming year.

Higdon’s motion was seconded by Commissioner John Shearl, who also expressed his support of Shields serving as the next Chairman. Commissioner Danny Antoine first nominated Josh Young to serve as the next Chairman of the board, however, Antoine was unable to garner support from other board members. Commissioner Antoine then joined all other commissioners to elect Shields in an unanimous decision. After assuming his position as Chairman, Shields made a motion to appoint Josh Young as Vice-Chair, which was also unanimously approved by the board.

A native of Macon County, Shields served two tours of duty in Vietnam as part of the 173rd Airborne Brigade. Following his military service, he embarked on a career in education, dedicating 37 years to shaping the minds of young individuals in the Macon County School System.

Shields is a proud alumnus of Gardner-Webb College, where he earned his Bachelor’s degree. He furthered his education by obtaining a Masters in School Administration from the University of North Carolina-Charlotte and a Masters in Guidance Counseling from Western Carolina University. His commitment to lifelong learning and academic achievement reflects his dedication to both personal and professional growth.

In 2014, Shields transitioned into public service by being elected to the Macon County Board of Commissioners, a role where he has continued to make a positive impact on the community. His leadership style, characterized by a commitment to transparency, collaboration, and community engagement, was reiterated during the first meeting where he promised to return decorum to county meetings.

Shields’s career in education spans various roles within the Macon County School System, where he served as a teacher, guidance counselor, elementary principal, and ultimately as the principal of Franklin High School for an impressive 21 years. His leadership at Franklin High School, which concluded with his retirement in June 2010, is remembered as a period of academic excellence, community involvement, and the nurturing of future leaders.

As the new Chairman of the Macon County Board of Commissioners, Shields is poised to bring his diverse skill set and wealth of experience to the forefront.

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