• By Todd Luck
  • Posted Thursday, March 21, 2024

Shontell Robinson will be the new Forsyth County manager

Forsyth County Board of Commissioners unanimously voted today to promote Deputy County Manager Shontell Robinson to the position of county manager, starting in July of 2024.

The current county manager, Dudley Watts, will be retiring at the end of June. After conducting a nationwide search, Robinson emerged as the top candidate to lead Forsyth County Government. She has more than 20 years of experience in human resources and was hired as director of Forsyth County Human Resources in 2014.

“I am honored and humbled that the commissioners have selected me as the next county manager. I recognize that I have big shoes to fill coming behind current County Manager Dudley Watts who has served with distinction for the last 17 years,” said Robinson. “I am thankful for his leadership and support, and we are both committed to ensuring a smooth transition. This is an opportunity that I do not take lightly, and I will work tirelessly to serve the residents and employees of Forsyth County. I am excited to get started and look forward to working with everyone in this new capacity.”

Robinson was promoted to assistant county manager in January 2020 and was quickly promoted to her current position as deputy county manager in September 2020. Both positions include serving as the director of Forsyth County’s Health and Human Services. She was instrumental in leading the Forsyth County Department of Public Health and its dedicated staff through the COVID-19 pandemic, which included testing events, community education and outreach campaigns, and a county-wide vaccination effort.

As deputy county manager, Robinson also oversees Social Services, Human Resources, Community and Economic Development, Behavioral Health Services, Court Diversion Programs, Bridges to Hope Family Justice Center and MapForsyth.

“We are so fortunate to have recruited Shontell Robinson to Forsyth County 10 years ago,” said Watts. “Over these years, she led our Human Resources Department, navigated the organization and the entire community through the challenges of the COVID pandemic and has directed the complex interactions of our Human Services departments. Our commissioners have made a great choice in trusting this position to an amazing public servant.”

Robinson served as the County’s first African American Human Resources director and will become the first woman and African American to serve as manager of Forsyth County Government.

"Over the past 4 years, I have observed Shontell Robinson as both an assistant and deputy manager,” said County Commissioner Chair Don Martin. “She successfully led the Health Department and Social Services during the difficult days of the pandemic. A true measure of leadership is how well one leads in a time of uncertainty, and Shontell served as a stabilizing presence during those difficult days. When she was selected for an interview for the county manager's position, I expected her to interview well. But I was overwhelmed with her preparation and knowledge of the many aspects of county government - she knows what she knows and, more importantly, what she doesn't know. I have no doubt that her transition into the county manager's role will be seamless, and all of our County Commissioners are pleased that she will be able to work with Dudley Watts during the last quarter of the fiscal year. Forsyth County is extremely fortunate to have a person with Shontell's skill set and talent leading Forsyth County into the future."

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