School News

Clarendon County School District 4: Meet Your Superintendent

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Clarendon County School Districts 1 and 3 will fully consolidate on June 30, 2021. For the past several months, a consolidated district 4 board has been meeting in preparation for that date. The appointed interim District 4 superintendent, Dr. Angela Bain, sat down for an Editors Office Interview to discuss their preparation. 

In your opinion how do you think districts one and three are handling the re-opening?

I think they are doing really well as a global statement. Clarendon one started yesterday (Monday August 17th) with their students and Clarendon three will officially start September 8th and their two superintendents are kind of running their districts, that’s  how that works. They are handling the day to day operations within each district and I am busy building the new one but yesterday went fairly smoothly for Clarendon one. I didn’t hear of any huge issues with the opening.

Speaking of District Four, what are some of the challenges that have been faced since you and the board have been established?

Well with any kind of change you are going to have challenge. I look at this as an opportunity for Clarendon One, Three and Four. The first thing is just getting to know everyone because I did not know some of the board members in Clarendon Four, some of them I did know. One of the first things I did my first week in this position was sit down with both superintendents to get to know them. Then I began to look at the seventy page plan that they submitted to the state this past January. This was one of our first challenges was just for everyone to get to know one another. I sat down with each board member and asked questions the first one being ‘what are your expectations for the consolidation processes? I really got some good information and learned about the communities. Again I view every challenge as an opportunity and this was a chance for me to learn about the communities and each board member represents a group of constituents so to me that was the fastest way for me to get to know them and to get to know what the tax payers expect from this consolidation.

Where are you from originally?

I was born in North Carolina but have lived in South Carolina since 1974.  I graduated from Rock Hill High School.

How long have you been in the education field?

I have been a public school educator in South Carolina for forty years. I started out as a teacher in Spartanburg, District 7. Then I became a professor at Converse College in Spartanburg. After Converse I moved to be an assistant principal at a middle school in Beaufort South Carolina. At the same time I taught graduate courses at both Converse and USC Beaufort for people who wanted to be principals and administrators. I did that for a while. Then I went to Laurens as a middle school principal and then to the Department of Education serving as the director of teacher evaluation for the State. Then I was an assistant superintendent for Human Resources and teacher evaluation in Lexington School District two for five years and the next eight and a half years I was the Chief Human Resource Officer in Lexington/Richland  School District Five. When Molly Spearman was elected she asked me to join as one of her Deputy State Superintendents. My division was teacher effectiveness.  From the Department I then retired and was working as a consultant for about four months before receiving a call from Chester County, South Carolina to be their interim Superintendent for about ten months, three months into it they asked me to stay for three years so that interim turned into a long-term appointment. I then retired on June 30 of this year, but was asked and hit the ground running with Clarendon 4 the day after. 

What helped you make the decision?

I received the call to interview on zoom with them, and I had just moved to Tennessee. However, this board is fantastic and we just hit it off. I just felt like this was a great opportunity for children in both Clarendon 1 and 3. I guess God has called me again, and I’m enjoying what I’m doing. 

It sounds like people keep calling you out of retirement!

I know! I just turned 62 in June. 

It also sounds like you have a lot of experience from a lot of different places that you can bring back and put into Clarendon 4. 

I think so. I don’t want to toot my own horn but I do think so. I enjoy working with children, and specifically putting systems in place and making it work for our community and children. 

How are the boards treating you?

I don’t know who put these boards together but they did an incredible job. A lot of times you might not get along with a new board that doesn’t know you, but I haven’t had that problem here. 

What are some of the more immediate challenges district 4 is facing?
 
The current challenge is working through a pandemic and making sure that you are treating everyone who is employed fairly. When you are consolidating you have to look at the people, their talents, and what they are bringing to the table. One of the things that I asked first was for the superintendents at each district to get me an updated resume on every employee. From there, we can look at each persons talent. The challenge is finding what services we can share across the board. What vacancies in Clarendon 3 can be filled by someone from Clarendon 1, and vice versa. That is what we are talking through right now. We also have two districts that are operating on very different grounds. And that boils down to things as simple as accounting software and even Microsoft Word versus Google Docs. 
 
So, pretty much your biggest challenge right now is taking two very different school districts and turning them into one. 
 
Right, or even a whole new and different district. However, we are in constant communication with all of the teachers and staff at both schools. I don’t want to make any major decisions that will affect them without their input first. 
 
How are you ensuring that both districts are receiving equal treatment?
 
When you look at a child, you don’t really care where they live. They are there to be educated, and that is your job. That is my first priority. They are a child of Clarendon 4. They are going to get equal treatment. That is why we are meeting with staff from both districts to make sure each child is getting the best education they can. That is how we start every meeting, by saying: “We are going to decide what is best for our students.” That is how I am ensuring that they get equal treatment. To me, right now, every child at districts 1 and 3 is my child, they are my children. 
 
What is a message you would like to get out to parents and students in districts one and three?
 
When you sent me these questions last night, I saw that one and wrestled with it for a while. I wanted to say something intelligent and profound. But really, the only thing I came up with is what I have said before. Please be assured that Clarendon 4 is here for all of your students, and all of you as students. We have you in mind first, and we will be providing you with the very best education available. We have staff, educators, and board members who are going to care for your children just like they were their own. The staff that I have met with are incredible, and I think we have everything we need to be a premier school district. We are one district, one voice, and we are better together. 
 

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