It’s been a little more than two years since former Manning Junior High School Principal Jerry Coker retired from Clarendon School District 2.
He will rejoin the district in a different capacity in July when he is sworn-in to the Board of Trustees.
The Clarendon County School Board selected Coker June 11 to join the board along with incumbents Ceth Land and Ethel Sweat.
County Board Secretary Mitchell Adger said seven candidates were interviewed for three open seats on the board. Clarendon School District 2’s board is the only one in Clarendon County whose seats are all-appointed.
Coker will replace outgoing board member Jesse U. Thompson, who has served for more than 15 years.
Coker retired from Manning Junior High School as principal in June 2013, after three years at the school. He was previously principal at Manning Elementary School and the old Manning Middle School.
Born in Turbeville, he is one of seven children of the late Carlisle Coker and Edith Coker, a farmer and seamstress, respectively. The family moved to Manning when Coker was in the third grade, and he graduated in 1968 from Manning High School.
During his senior year of high school, he signed a letter of intent to play baseball for the University of South Carolina, but declined after he was drafted by the Philadelphia Phillies as a second baseman.
He went to play rookie ball in Huron, South Dakota, and enrolled in Spartanburg Junior College – now Spartanburg Methodist. He continued to play for minor league teams while in college.
Ultimately, Coker decided the baseball career he wanted was not in his future and he transferred to Georgia Southern University after completing two years at Spartanburg Junior College.
He graduated in 1973 from GSU with a degree in secondary education, and began teaching in Toccoa, Ga., at Stephens County High School. He also coached varsity baseball and football and junior varsity girls’ basketball. He received a master’s degree from the University of South Carolina and too a job in 1981 at Hillcrest High School.
He came back to Clarendon County during the 1985-86 school year as principal of Alcolu Elementary School. Aside from his time as principal of Alcolu Elementary School, Manning Elementary School and Manning Junior High School, he also served as principal of Manning Primary School and as the district director of Student Services.
His wife, Judy, retired the same year Coker did as secretary at Manning Primary School.