ACE taps interim director Daniels to succeed former boss

sbowman@beaufortgazette.comApril 10, 2014 

Dandi Daniels

The Beaufort-Jasper Academy for Career Excellence board filled the school's vacant director position at its meeting Wednesday, making Dandi Daniels the third person to hold the position in as many years.

Daniels has served as the interim director at ACE since the October resignation of former director Deonia Simmons. She will be paid at an $101,000 annual rate, effective immediately, through June 30, 2017.

"I appreciate the board's vote of confidence," she said. "My vision for ACE is to continue to build our programs for students and to work with the community to offer new programs in line with the local industry needs."

Daniels' hiring was approved on a 4-2 vote. Beaufort County school board member Jim Beckert and Jasper County school board member Randy Horton opposed the selection. Attempts Thursday to reach them for comment were unsuccessful.

Several candidates had been interviewed for the position since January. Beckert has said he thought there were some highly-qualified candidates with extensive experience in career and technical education.

Daniels has been at ACE for two years as the assistant director. She also served as the director of the Colleton Career Skills Center and as a career and technical instructor in business administration for nine years, she said.

Several Beaufort County school board members have raised concerns over the school's leadership and how ACE manages its money.

When asked about those concerns, Daniels said she thinks the school is focused on preparing students for the work force and that "decisions regarding expenditures have been made based on needs of the school."

Simmons sudden resignation in October came after only a year and a half at the school. A police investigation of alleged harassment at ACE began shortly after his departure, but it ultimately was dropped.

Simmons' predecessor also resigned after internal investigations of financial and personnel concerns. As a result, the academy's board fired one employee and reprimanded the director and then-assistant director for poor judgment.

ACE and Beaufort County school board member Earl Campbell said he thinks Daniels will bring stability to the school.

"For me, she was there when we needed her, and she knows the school and has been doing a good job as interim director," Campbell said. "I think she has some good ideas and will do the job she was selected to do."

Follow reporter Sarah Bowman on Twitter at twitter.com/IPBG_Sarah.

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