Aiken Co.'s plan for schools without principals

By: Karen Edwards Email
By: Karen Edwards Email

News 12 at 11 o'clock / Wednesday, July 17, 2013

AIKEN COUNTY, S.C. (WRDW) -- Karena Williams knows a thing or two about Aiken County public schools.

"I'm a product of Paul Knox Middle School and North Augusta High School," Williams said. "I've lived here since I was in kindergarten."

Now, she has three kids of her own in the school system.

"I love it, I think it's a great school system," Williams said. "I've really had no major complaint."

Williams and other parents like her are gearing up for a new high school principal who's actually not so new.

Former Paul Knox Principal John Murphy has been named principal of North Augusta High School.

"I'm actually kind of excited about it. I have a daughter who just finished Paul Knox Middle School and she started there the same year that Mr. Murphy went there," Williams said. "And I've seen the positive changes he's made in the school."

Williams still has a child at the middle school.

"I feel confident in the Aiken County Board of Education that they'll make good decisions to put somebody in place that will just follow the path that he's laid," Williams said.

Superintendent Dr. Beth Everitt tells me they've already started the process to find a new principal.

Until that happens, she says the assistant principals, central office staff, academic officers and teacher leaders are all prepared to keep things going as usual.

"Mr. Murphy has his own son at Paul Knox Middle School," Williams said. "And one of the other assistant principals has a son at Paul Knox Middle School. So they don't only have a professional investment there, they have a personal investment there."

She just wants the school board to know one thing.

"I would not want them to make a hasty decision," she said. "And I think I would speak from a lot of parents saying that. I would rather see somebody as an interim come in and take that position for a while instead of feeling pressure to get somebody in there right away."

And Paul Knox isn't the only Aiken County school without a principal right now.

The same job is open at Jackson Middle School.

Everitt says the hiring process goes like this:

  • The district advertises for the position for two weeks
  • Before interviews start, the board will take staff and community input on the appointment
  • The interviewing process will then start
  • The decision will end with a school board vote

The next board meeting is scheduled for August, but the superintendent says an extra board meeting can be called to make decisions like these.

No date is set yet for getting community input, but News 12 will let everyone know as soon as they decide.

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