Finalists chosen in hunt for Hunt’s successor

COUNTY — Dr. Danny Merck and Dr. Kelly Pew, both assistant superintendents in the School District of Pickens County, have been named the finalists for the position of SDPC Superintendent.
The new superintendent will succeed Dr. Henry Hunt, who is retiring at the end of June.
Merck has been assistant superintendent of administrative services since August 2011. Pew was named assistant superintendent of instructional services in May 2011 after serving as the district’s assistant superintendent of human resource services for three years.
“Last year board members fanned out and spoke with each principal,” school board chair Alex Saitta said. “This year we are visiting the faculties at each school. One of the questions we asked is ‘What would you like to see in the next superintendent?’ All stressed the need for an internal hire, someone who knows our culture and has first-hand knowledge of our district office operation. By narrowing the search to Dr. Pew and Dr. Merck, the board has taken this input, thereby giving employees and principals some ownership in the selection.”
Merck began his education career in SDPC in 1991, teaching at Simpson Academy, Gettys Middle School and Liberty High School before being named an assistant principal at Easley High School in 2000. He became principal at Pendleton High School in 2005 and then returned to Easley High as principal in 2009.
A 1989 graduate of Wofford College, Merck also received an educational specialist’s degree in secondary and elementary administration in 1999. He earned a doctorate degree in educational leadership from Nova Southeastern University in 2005 and superintendent’s certification from Clemson University in 2009.
Pew began her career as a teacher at Chapman High School in Inman in 1991. She also taught at McDuffie and T.L. Hanna high schools in Anderson until she became a school administrator in 1997. She served as principal at Seneca High School, Seneca Middle School and Wren High School’s Freshman Academy. She also worked as an assistant principal at Wren High, at Bryson Middle School in Greenville, and at the South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts Summer Program.
Pew has also been an adjunct professor at Southern Wesleyan University since 2003, teaching graduate courses in curriculum, instruction and school leadership. She also teaches in the master of education program at Anderson University.
Pew graduated in 1991 from Clemson University and then earned a master’s degree from Furman University in 1997. She earned a doctor of philosophy degree in educational leadership and superintendent’s certification from Clemson University in 2002.
Hunt said that he is glad both Pew and Merck are interested in the position.
“I have had the privilege of working with Dr. Pew and Dr. Merck,” Hunt said. “Each one has the skills and talents to be a very effective superintendent. I do not envy the decision the board has to make in selecting a new superintendent. I stand ready to continue to work with each of the candidates in the next months and will do whatever I can to ensure a smooth transition. Pickens County will be getting a very good superintendent in either candidate.”
At a called board meeting on February 20, the board will interview each candidate. According to Saitta, the board may vote following the interviews or wait until the regular meeting on February 27.