Definitive Leadership Throughout The Ages

Over the past 30 years, Richard Hooker has been a leading advocate for public education, community and civic engagement, youth development, mentoring, and leadership training. Hooker has served on the former Shelby City School Board of Education for eight years before serving as a member of the merged Cleveland County Schools Board of Education since 2004 and is the current Vice-Chairman since 2017. Throughout the years, he has continued to exude a commitment to local leadership on several initiatives related to community and education in Cleveland County through the Uptown Shelby Association and Cleveland Community College Board of Advisors, Cleveland County Chamber, and Shelby Breakfast Rotary Club (Past President). 

Notably, Hooker is an Army Veteran officer and a life member of the NAACP, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, and Norfolk State University Alumni Association.

Award-Winning Leadership and Trailblazer

In 2018, Hooker was recognized as the Southeast Regional “Citizen of the Year Award” presented by Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. and is also the recipient of the 2013-2014 Raleigh Dingman Award, the highest school board recognition for educational leadership.  Mr. Hooker received the Raleigh Dingman Award for Outstanding Boardsmanship, granted annually by the North Carolina School Boards Association (NCSBA). 

He is a founding member of Cleveland County’s Close the Gap Committee, the Cleveland Emerging Leaders Academy (CELA), and Community Math Academy. Richard Hooker, Jr. is a respected, long-time business owner and co-founder and Executive Director of the Cleveland County Business Development Center in Shelby, NC. Richard continues to be actively involved at the local, state, and national levels on behalf of public education.

Fighting for Shelby and Beyond

At the state level, he was appointed to several boards by Gov. Perdue, Gov. Easley, and Gov. Hunt, respectively. He currently serves as a founding member and former chairman of the Alliance of North Carolina Black Elected Officials, and former advisory member of the NC State Board of Education.  He is also a Past President and founding member of the NC Caucus of Black School Board Members, Board of Directors for the NC Justice Center, and former Board of Directors of the NC School Board Association Action Center. 

A Family Role Model

Hooker and his wife, Linda, are active members of Shiloh Baptist Church in Shelby, NC. They have two adult children, Takiyah Jamila and Richard Jabari, and four grandchildren, Brittney, Jaylen, Jeremiah, and Anaria.