Local principals given new roles

COUNTY — School District of Pickens County officials announced new duties for a pair of local principals this week.

A.R. Lewis Elementary School principal Melissa Terry will serve as a transitional principal to coordinate the merger of Pickens-area elementary schools during the 2016-17 school year, while Pickens High School principal Marion Lawson will serve as the district’s new assistant superintendent of administration for the coming year.

As transitional principal, Terry’s duties will include working with parents and students from A.R. Lewis and Holly Springs elementary schools as they relocated to new locations, She will also work with leadership, faculty and staff from all five Pickens-area schools to relocate and transition into their new locations and serve as the point of communication for all information concerning consolidation for various departments within the district. She will also assist the Instructional Services and Human Resources departments as needed for curriculum development and teacher evaluation.

“Mrs. Terry has done an excellent job as principal at A.R. Lewis Elementary School for the past two years,” SDPC superintendent Dr. Danny Merck said. “She is a true professional, and she has exactly the leadership skills needed to help the merger between the Pickens-area elementary schools go as smoothly as possible.”

On March 14, school board members voted to close A.R. Lewis and Holly Springs and to merge these schools with Hagood Elementary and Ambler Elementary. Pickens Elementary School, while not a part of the merger, will still be welcoming a new principal in 2016. Terry will be located in one of the Pickens-area schools as she works with the principals and staff next year.

As assistant superintendent of administration, Lawson will be the district office’s primary point of contact and evaluator for all principals and program directors. He will oversee four district-wide departments: Operations, Student Services, Food Services, and Transportation.

“I’m looking forward to working with our principals and department heads to build and enhance leadership so we can achieve success in and beyond the classroom,” Lawson said.

“The ability to mentor and lead our principals is the most important part of this role, and no one is better suited to that responsibility than Mr. Lawson,” Merck said. “Serving as a principal in our district for 18 years has earned him the respect of his colleagues, and I have great faith in his abilities as a leader and a manager.”

Lawson has been the principal of Pickens High School since 2000. Prior to working at PHS, he was the principal at Dacusville Middle School for two years. He was also an assistant principal at Easley High School for five years. Before he began his career in administration, be taught at Easley High, Easley Junior High School, Seneca High School and Liberty High School. He is a product of Pickens County schools, having graduated with honors from Easley High School.

Lawson has been a leader among his peers as a principal, serving as the president of the Pickens County Principals’ Association from 2001-02. He was also the president of the South Carolina High School League AAA Conference from 2006-08, the president of the SCHSL Executive Committee in 2010, and a AAA representative to the SCHSL from 2012-13.