Group protests demotion of Horry County principal

Horry County, SC - HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - Nearly 30 people gathered at an Horry County School Board meeting Monday night demanding answers into the recent demotion and relocation of a principal at the Academy of Arts, Science and Technology.

According to district officials, Ronnie Burgess was notified this spring he would be giving up his four-year post as principal to serve as an assistant principal at Carolina Forest High School. The choice to relocate Burgess came as an administrative decision based on a personnel matter, according to Horry County School District spokeswoman Teal Britton.

While the circumstances for the demotion remain unclear, Britton commented she is aware that Burgess has hired a legal council to protest the position change in court.

Members of the Horry County School Board have already finalized Burgess' transfer to Carolina Forest High School, despite strong opposition from a group of people supporting the principal. Those siding with Burgess described the former principal as a "pioneer of education, great community servant, and a trailblazer."

Prior to being named principal at the Academy for Arts, Science and Technology, Burgess served as principal at St. James High School from 2003-2006 and at Myrtle Beach High School from 1998-2003.

Burgess began his employment with Horry County Schools in 1995 as a speech and drama teacher at the Academy of Arts, Science and Technology.

Lanessa Salvatore, a graduating senior at the Academy of Arts, Science, and Technology, says she wants answers from the Horry County School Board.

"If there is a legitimate reason for Mr. Burgess leaving, I would like someone to step forward and tell us because we have not been given one," said Salvatore.  "If he goes, the academy goes with're going to need a big band aid and it's still not going to be big enough."

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