Students at Beaufort High, Hilton Head Middle and Bluffton Middle schools will be guided by new leaders this school year.
At Tuesday night's Beaufort County Board of Education meeting, Superintendent Jeff Moss asked for the board's approval to hire Charity Summers as the new principal of Beaufort High School.
In a 7-0 vote with three abstentions, the board approved the hire. JoAnn Orischak, John Dowling and Christina Gwozdz abstained.
Orischak expressed concerns over the hiring since Moss is leaving the district at the end of July.
"I would like to see any important appointments for principals or hires at the district wait until our new interim superintendent begins," Orischak said.
Summers will replace former Beaufort High Principal Bonnie Almond, who recently moved to the district position of chief instructional officer.
Summers is the principal of Garrett Academy of Technology, a career and technology magnet high school in the Charleston County School District. During her five-year tenure as principal, the magnet school earned three statewide Palmetto Gold Awards for academic achievement.
At Garrett Academy, Summers oversaw about 530 students and 50 teachers.
By comparison, she will be in charge of about 1,300 students and 85 teachers at Beaufort High, according to the most recent data available from the South Carolina Department of Education.
Moss also announced Tuesday night that Hilton Head Middle School Principal Neodria Brown turned in a resignation letter on Monday. Moss did not provide further information about that departure.
Brown had served as Hilton Head Middle School principal since January 2014, when she moved from assistant principal at Hilton Head Island High School.
Patricia Freda, principal of Bluffton Middle School, will replace Brown.
Freda is no stranger to Hilton Head Middle. Starting in 1995, she spent about 17 years at the school, serving as a math teacher, an instructional coach and an assistant principal. In 2012, she became the principal of Bluffton Middle School.
Matt Hall, an assistant principal at River Ridge Academy, will replace Freda as the principal of Bluffton Middle School.
Hall has worked in the district for more than six years, including as a principal intern at Whale Branch Middle School and as an assistant principal at St. Helena Elementary.
"Both of those are excellent internal administrators, and I believe they will do an outstanding job at both of those locations," Moss said of Hall and Freda.
District announces restructuring plan
In response to the departure of four top-level Beaufort County School District administrators, Moss announced Tuesday that some district positions will be going through "organizational restructuring."
Moss announced his resignation in May. Former school district attorney Drew Davis stepped down in April. Former chief instructional officer Dereck Rhoads announced his departure last year. Former chief auxiliary services officer Gregory McCord left for a superintendent position at another South Carolina school district last month.
Instead of replacing McCord, his former responsibilities will be divided among other district officers, Moss said Tuesday at the school board meeting.
Robert Oetting, the district’s facilities, planning and construction officer, will become the chief operations officer, district spokesperson Jim Foster said Wednesday.
In his new position, Oetting will manage the district’s facilities and take over McCord's responsibilities of overseeing student transportation, athletics and building grounds and custodial services.
As part of an ongoing FBI investigation, Oetting was one of three district employees who were served federal subpoenas for documents related to the construction of May River High School and River Ridge Academy — the only two schools built during Moss’ tenure.
Almond, the district's chief instructional services officer, will take over McCord's former duties of managing adult education, attendance, school choice and student discipline.
Moss told the board that this "more streamlined organizational approach" will save county taxpayers more than $100,000.
"You'll start the school year with a little bit more money and one less person in the district office, which probably makes some people very happy," Moss said at the meeting. "But the work will be done."