Evans elected school board chair

rheaton@beaufortgazette.comJanuary 2, 2013 

The Beaufort County Board of Education is sworn in by Town of Port Royal municipal judge Jim Grimsley at the start of Wednesday's board meeting in Beaufort. Following the swearing-in ceremony, the board elected Bill Evans, second from right, as its new chairman.

JAY KARR , STAFF PHOTO

Bill Evans is the new chairman of the Beaufort County Board of Education.

Evans said the board's first priority will be to hire a "new and experienced" superintendent for the district.

Evans also said he would work to make some changes in the way the board does business.

First, the board's "policy governance" model needs to be modified, he said. The model, adopted in 2008, essentially gives the school board the authority to set policies, but leaves the day-to-day operations of the district in the superintendent's hands.

In some cases, Evans said, that model has not benefited the board, explaining that he feels the board is elected to govern as well as oversee the district.

Evans said he wants the board to adopt a committee structure, in which members would serve on panels that target a particular issue.

He referenced "personnel issues" when asked for examples of times the model had not worked, but declined to provide specifics.

"I want (assurance) going forward that all the board's questions are answered and that we get all the information, that it's not filtered," he said.

In his speech to the board, he also said there were "outstanding personnel issues which have taken too long to resolve," and added they should be addressed before the new superintendent is in place. He again declined to be specific.

In the last year, the school board has been briefed on several personnel issues, including the resignation of Beaufort High School principal Dan Durbin over grade changes he admitted to making. Just before Christmas, the board discussed H.E. McCracken Middle School principal Phillip Shaw's leave of absence, which began in early November and has not been resolved.

The school board cannot make hiring or firing decisions in those cases, since under the policy governance model it only hires two employees: the superintendent and the board's secretary.

The board should also continue to advocate for changes to the state's public education funding formula, and increase participation by the public, staff and students when possible. Evans said he expects board members to regularly meet with their constituents in either town-hall style gatherings or through school improvement council meetings.

Evans, one of four incumbent members on the newly seated 11-member board, was first elected in 2010. He was the only school board member not to face re-election in November because of an expired term or redistricting based on the 2010 U.S. Census.

He has previously worked for the district as the principal of Hilton Head Island High School and as a district administrator.

Board members Earl Campbell, Michael Rivers, Laura Bush, Mary Cordray, Paul Roth and Evans voted in favor of his candidacy. Newcomers Jim Beckert and Mike Sanz were also nominated for the chairmanship.

Newcomer Cordray was elected vice-chairwoman. Bush retained her spot as secretary.

Related content

  1. As decision nears, Beaufort County school board's choice for chair still not clear
  2. Sanz 'interested' in Beaufort County school board chairmanship; Nov. 14, 2012
  3. Beaufort County school board members mull possibilities for new chair; Nov. 12, 2012

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