The Beaufort County School District has hired a veteran of the S.C. Department of Education as its new director of school and community services.
For nearly two decades, Jim Foster has directed department communications, supervised the release of standardized test scores and answered questions from newspaper reporters.
"Everything that's come out of this agency in terms of news for the past 19 years has been on my watch," he said.
District superintendent Valerie Truesdale said that when Foster starts in August, he will bring deep experience in education policy.
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"He'll have to learn Beaufort, and he'll have to learn our local issues, but his job knowledge is strong," she said.
Foster is a South Carolina native and was an editor at The (Columbia) State newspaper before joining the Education Department.
In Beaufort County, he will manage both internal and external communication for the district and will work to help taxpayers and residents understand the difficulties facing educators, Truesdale said.
"How does one convey complex issues such as school closures?" Truesdale asked. "How do we help folks understand the challenges of raising student achievement in the era of diminished resources?"
Foster said that after many years of working in education policy in Columbia, he's excited to be moving closer to teachers and students.
"That's one of the aspects of this opportunity that intrigues me the most, is working more closely with educators in their day-to-day jobs," he said.
Foster's contract with the district is for about $94,500 a year, a slight increase from his state salary of about $93,000.
His predecessor, Jesse Washington, left Beaufort County for a position in Orangeburg.
Follow reporter Kyle Peterson at twitter.com/EyeOnBeaufortCo.