Merck named Pickens County superintendent

By Ben Robinson, Courier Staff

COUNTY — Daniel High School principal Dr. Danny Merck, a finalist for the superintendent’s job four years ago, has been hired to replace Dr. Kelly Pew as



superintendent of Pickens County schools starting May 1.

The board voted unanimously to hire Merck after a brief executive session before a scheduled work session last Thursday. Pew was hired earlier this month as the new superintendent of Rock Hill schools.

Under the terms of the contract, which the board authorized chairman Alex Siatta to negotiate, the district will pay Merck an annual salary of $120,000.

“The Board is extremely pleased that Dr. Merck, a native of Pickens County and graduate of our schools, will be leading the district as superintendent beginning May 1,” Saitta said. “He comes to our system with a very strong background in and dedication to public education.”

Merck has more than 23 years of experience as an educator in South Carolina. Merck also has experience as a teacher, coach and assistant principal. Prior to his time at Daniel, Merck served as the district’s assistant superintendent of administration, overseeing principals, finance, alternative education, food service and student services.

Merck received a B.A. in Business Economics from Wofford College, his teaching certification from Southern Wesleyan University, an M.S.S. in Sports Management from the U.S. Sports Academy, ann Ed. S. in Elementary Administration and Secondary Administration from Converse College, Ed. D. in Educational Leadership from Nova Southeastern University, and a superintendent certification from Clemson University.

Merck has been married for 18 years to his wife, Suzanne, and the two have four children who attend school in Pickens County.

Until May 1, the board has agreed that Merck will serve as superintendent-elect. In that capacity, he will perform any and all duties as may be deemed appropriate and agreed upon by the board.

The board will schedule a welcome reception in the near future for the staff and community to formally meet Merck and his family. Merck has been a very involved participant in numerous civic and professional organizations in Pickens and Anderson counties for many years and is excited about becoming more involved in all aspects of community and school life throughout Pickens County, according to a release from the district.

At Daniel High, assistant principal Josh Oxendine will serve as interim principal for the remainder of this school year as Merck assumes the role of superintendent.

At the end of Thursday’s meeting, Saitta shared his thoughts.

“We all came to the same conclusion on our own, and rather quickly,” he said. “It is not surprising. In 2011, I believe our school board and administration did a good job of looking ahead on this issue, and the dividends are still paying off today.”