Florence District 4 seeks new superintendent candidate

Florence District 4 seeks new superintendent candidate

FLORENCE, SC (WMBF) – Florence School District Four and the South Carolina Department of Education agreed in April on a superintendent candidate, Dr. Fannie Mason, but ultimately Mason was not hired. The schoolboard will try to reach an agreement on a new candidate.

In a letter dated July 7 to School District Four Board Chairman Lillie Joe, State Superintendent of Education Molly M. Spearman said the board refused to accept Mason's contract response. A memorandum dictates Spearman and the board must mutually agree on the hiring of leadership positions.

Now we need to agree on the person who will lead the district to the next level of improvement. I believe it is imperative for us to select an educator who has strong leadership ability, district-level experience, an understanding of how district systems must operate and an enthusiasm and dedication to moving Florence Four forward.

The letter states if a superintendent is appointed without agreement, SCDE would continue hiring and evaluating personnel and providing funding for Brockington Elementary and Johnson Middle schools, but not the overall district or the high school.

Spearman said the leadership of Interim Superintendent Dr. Zona Jefferson has resulted in positive growth for the district.

Not only did the students show improvement on their preliminary assessments, but the district was able to complete its audit, the retention of teachers and staff is strong, and the overall morale of the district has improved. The SCDE provided financial and technical assistance in securing a new financial software package for the district, held intensive personalized professional development sessions for teachers, provided support to improve the special education department ensuring no loss of IDEA funds, and gave the expertise of two transformation coaches and Dr. Latoya Dixon. Working together has certainly paid off!

The WMBF Investigative team was able to get academic assessment figures for Florence Four over the past year under the state's control.

This was the first time in five years students at Brockington Elementary took the Measures of Academic Progress Testing, or MAP Test.

The first test was in the fall and the second in March. Students at the school showed growth in both reading and math at every grade level except fourth grade reading, which remained the same.

Below are the results from both tests:

The state says Johnson Middle students in grades six through eight who participated in the STAR reading and math program in the winter and spring showed significant growth when compared to the August results.

Ninety percent of end-of-course testers in eighth grade algebra scored 70 or above, which up from 59 percent just a year ago.

State officials said all 41 seniors at Timmonsville High School were accepted to one or more colleges or the military, or have formalized plans for career entry.

While not finalized, the expected graduation rate for Timmonsville High School should be at or near 80 percent, up from 59 percent last year.

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