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District 55 to hire new superintendent from within

The Laurens School District 55 Board of Trustees spent part of Tuesday night in executive session during a called meeting to decide the next step in finding a new superintendent.

After emerging from executive session, the board voted 5-2 to hire the next District 55 superintendent from among several potential candidates already working for the district.

Board Chairman Robby Bell said the board had several options as it seeks to replace current Superintendent Dr. Stephen Peters. Peters resigned in November effective at the end of the academic year.

“We’re going to decide what method we’re going to use going forward,” Bell said Monday.

According to Tiffany Richardson, general counsel and director of legal services and legal services for the South Carolina School Boards Association, several procedures for the upcoming search are available to the board, including:

  • Another nationwide search that would be advertised to educators across the country.
  • Open the search to internal applicants only, meaning the hire would come from a pool of candidates in District 55.
  • Simply picking a qualified candidate for the post.

Those are three options, but not the only ones available to the board, Richardson said.

The board was expected to determine its favored course of action while in executive session and then voting for it during a public portion of the meeting.

Peters was hired after an exhaustive national search in 2016. He was then principal of Orangeburg-Wilkinson High School.

A leadership school for educators has been among the initiatives created by Peters during his four-year tenure with District 55, something that could result in more internal candidates being considered for his successor if the board decides to go in that direction.

“We’re training everybody up the ladder with the leadership school, and it’s paying off,” Bell said. “About 85% of our hires have been internals as far as our principals and (administrators).”

The next superintendent will also be expected to implement the district’s new strategic plan, which includes personalized instruction and curriculum to be implemented in the 2020-21 academic year.

Peters’ wife, Dr. Angela Peters, recently accepted a job as provost and vice president of academic affairs at Albany State University in Albany, Georgia. That move led to her husband’s impending departure from District 55. He will relocate to Albany when his resignation takes effect this summer.

“I feel like Laurens 55 is in a good position and a very good place,” he said after announcing his resignation in November. “I’ll be watching from afar to see the great work that is being done for the students here.”


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