Hilton Head High finds principal in former teacher after unprecedented $20K search

Amanda O’Nan’s former principalship was filled Tuesday night, when Steven Schidrich was approved by the board of education at their last meeting before the school year to become the next principal of Hilton Head Island High School.

He was one of three principals approved. Elizabeth Rivera will become principal of Shanklin Elementary School, and Alvilda Graham will become principal of Beaufort Middle School.

In addition, Mary Stratos was appointed chief instructional services officer. She succeeds Bonnie Almond, a 30-year educator who moved with controversial former superintendent Jeff Moss to the district from Lee County in 2013. Almond retired this June, after taking on four positions and nearly $30,000 in raises over her six-year tenure in the district.

Schidrich taught at Hilton Head Island High School for 13 years before becoming an assistant principal at Bluffton Middle School in 2013.

Schidrich, an internal candidate, was selected for the position after an unprecedented national search and advertising campaign to fill the position that cost the district $20,000.

When asked why the district had turned to a search firm to find a principal for the first time, district spokesman Jim Foster said the original posting for the position had not produced enough qualified candidates.

Schidrich will be the school’s first principal since Amanda O’Nan was placed on paid administrative leave in January, when an investigation began into allegations that the principal of 13 years had carried out an on-campus sexual relationship with a Beaufort County Sheriff’s deputy in 2016, something she has repeatedly denied.

O’Nan resigned in May after settling with the district for $35,000, in addition to pay for the last eight weeks of her contract.

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Rachel Jones covers education for the Island Packet and the Beaufort Gazette. She attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and has worked for the Daily Tar Heel and Charlotte Observer. Rachel grew up in Ayden, NC, surrounded by teachers.