MARION COUNTY, (WMBF) - The Marion County School District Board of Education officially named Dr. Kandace Bethea superintendent of the Marion County School District at a special called school board meeting on Tuesday.
Bethea comes into the position with 20 years of experience as a public school educator in South Carolina. She spent five of those years serving as deputy superintendent in Marion County.
She believes that experience will make for a smooth transition to the head of the district.
"There is so much potential in Marion County and I want to make sure we are just tapping into that potential in every aspect," Bethea said. "So with that too, I want to have a sense of urgency."
There are a total of 13 schools in the district, including the early childhood center, a career center and an adult education learning center. Bethea said her goals moving forward are creating a sense of impact, a sense of urgency and a sense of community in Marion Schools, as well as getting individual school officials to think outside of the box.
"I always believe in that old cliché that it takes a village," she said. "We've got to start thinking innovatively, offering innovative programs, being creative in our delivery of instruction, making sure we are doing object-based learning, exploring options of theme-based schools."
Marion County is still reeling three months after Hurricane Matthew, and Bethea wants to re-establish a new norm within the school district.
"Starting over, learning in temporary housing, things of that nature," she said. "But I think there is a sense of hope and that has been provided because of how others have given it to us."
On Feb. 26, the Advanced Education Accreditation System will go through Marion County for the first time to give the district its system accreditation. Bethea said it will feel like the official stamp of approval that the district can be very proud of.