School board picks Pew to head SDPC

COUNTY — Following a lengthy executive session during which candidates for the School District of Pickens County’s superintendent job were interviewed, Dr. Kelly Pew was named the new SDPC superintendent in a unanimous vote by board trustees Monday night.
Pew will replace Dr. Henry Hunt, who is retiring at the end of June.
“I appreciate the board’s confidence in me as the school district’s new leader,” Pew said. “I have thoroughly enjoyed working with our students, teachers, support staff, and administrators over the last three and a half years and am excited to continue in a different role.
“Both my mother and grandmother are Easley High School graduates, so I have a true connection to Pickens County.”
After acting as the school district’s assistant superintendent of human resources, a position she held for three years, Pew was named assistant superintendent of instructional services in May 2011.
“Dr. Pew has an unyielding commitment to Pickens County students and staff and to the district’s mission of providing quality education experiences to all students,” Hunt said. “Over the past three and a half years as a district administrator, she has proven her leadership and relationship-building skills.
“I am confident that Dr. Pew, with the board’s support, will continue making a difference in the School District of Pickens County.”
SDPC board chair Alex Saitta said that people in the school system with whom he spoke were inpressed with Pew; however as human resources director, many hadn’t had the opportunity to work with her in a more one-on-one environment.
“When she was named curriculum director, Dr. Hunt and the board put Pew right in the center of the district’s flow of business. It was an excellent decision,” said Saitta. “Not only is our curriculum effort moving in the right direction again, but everyone got to witness her talents on a regular basis. Universal impressiveness are the words to describe the feedback we’ve received from principals, department heads and teachers in the system. I’m confident she is a great choice.”
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. Pew 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.
Graduating from Clemson University in 1991, Pew earned her master’s degree from Furman University in 1997. She earned a Ph.D. in educational leadership and superintendent’s certification from Clemson University in 2002.
In addition to her work with the SDPC, Pew has 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.
“I am passionate about the children our school district serves, and we are fortunate to have quality, dedicated personnel working with them every day,” she said. “Each employee is important as we pursue our goal of providing all students from K4-12th with a rigorous, relevant education program that will prepare them to reach their individual life goals for college and careers. We will continue the curriculum initiatives that teachers have worked on including preparing for the common core state standards and implementing technology in our classrooms. In addition, we will continue preparing our students for our ever-changing world by providing quality education in all of our classrooms.”
The board offered Pew a two-year contract as SDPC superintendent, which will begin on July 1 following Dr. Hunt’s retirement.
“It is a nice pay raise for Dr. Pew to compensate her for all the extra responsibility,” Saitta said. “Overall, though, the board continues to hold the line on administrative pay, as a way to maximize money available for the classroom. The superintendent’s compensation package in 2012-13 will be equal to what it was in the 2008-09 school year.”
Also vying for the superintendent’s position was SDPC Assistant Superintendent of Administrative Services Dr. Danny Merck. Saitta said it was a tough decision because the board had two talented finalists for the position, but the reality is that trustees could only choose one person for the job.
“Dr. Merck is doing an excellent job,” Saitta said. “He brought to the district level an approach of setting clear goals, formulating detailed plans and a determination to implement each step of those plans. That is one of the many things he has brought to the table. He is very honest and open with his opinions and his proposed solutions, and we all appreciate that too.”
Pew will spend the next few months before she assumes the superintendent seat working with SDPC board members to develop specific goals for the district for the upcoming 2012-2013 school year.
“I will be listening carefully as the principals and I look together toward the future of our district,” she said. “I also look forward to working with Dr. Hunt and continuing to benefit from his experience during the transition.”