New Edgefield superintendent won't let controversy affect job

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News 12 at 6 o'clock, November 1, 2007

EDGEFIELD CTY, S.C. – It is day one for Dr. Mary Rice-Crenshaw as she takes the helm as superintendent of Edgefield District Schools. She comes here after three and half years as superintendent in the Clarendon 3 District.

It's a brand new start for Dr. Crenshaw. She brings her experience as a two-time superintendent to Edgefield County. However, her selection as superintendent was not without controversy. The School Board and the community were divided over her selection.

Dr. Crenshaw knows all about the controversy, but she won't let it affect her new job. "We want to build on the successes that are already here," she says.

So, she went back to school as she officially took over as superintendent in Edgefield County. She went classroom to classroom talking with students.

"They kind of look at me like, 'Who's that stranger?' Give me a couple more weeks and they'll recognize me," she says. She also chatted with principals and teachers.

But some parents are not happy that Dr. Crenshaw got the job, saying her track record of both the SAT and PACT scores are just not good enough.

In 2007, Edgefield County saw a SAT average of 1016. In Clarendon 3, it was 874.

We asked Dr. Crenshaw, "What are you going to do to keep the Edgefield County SAT scores at 1016 or even make it higher?"

"You got to know what the criterion is and focus on making sure students meet that criterion," she replied.

And it doesn't just happen in the classroom. Dr. Crenshaw says it happens "from the cleanliness of the building to parents being more active or even more technology."

She says one of the first questions she asks principals when she meets them is "How can we make this school district the best?" And she dreams of making her new district AYP proficient. However, before that can happen, something else needs to happen.

"I need to look and see exactly what they're doing," says Dr. Crenshaw.

Dr. Crenshaw made it a point to visit the schools she had not seen before.

With the number of MRSA cases showing up in schools in our area, we asked her if there were any cases in Edgefield County. She said she was not aware of any, but she will be making sure everyone is doing everything they should to keep students and staff safe.

News 12 has learned the Aiken County Superintendent list is down to six, with each candidate being scheduled for an interview during the next two to three weeks.

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