AIKEN --- The Aiken County School Board expects to announce its next superintendent by Nov. 27 and will do so from a list of the top three candidates selected Thursday.
Those candidates are local educators David Mathis and Frank Roberson and Elizabeth Everitt, of Albuquerque, N.M.
"We feel that we are a good district and we have the potential to be a great district and we need someone that will take us out of that comfort zone," said Dr. Christine Sanders, school board chairwoman.
Dr. Roberson most recently served as interim superintendent in Edgefield County and grew up in the Aiken County system, serving more than 27 years as an educator and administrator.
Another Aiken alumnus, Dr. Mathis serves as the associate superintendent of administration for Aiken County Schools. He worked for more than 20 years in the Edgefield County school district prior to his Aiken appointment more than a year ago.
Dr. Mathis was also recently in the top three in Edgefield County's superintendent search.
"I just have a foundational philosophy that I want to make a difference in the lives of others, and what better way to do that than with a superintendency?" he said. "I'm just honored to be among the top three."
Dr. Roberson resigned from the Edgefield school district earlier this year to stay closer to his family in Aiken and to pursue the Aiken County superintendent position, according to the rÃsumÃ he submitted to the school board. If appointed as superintendent, he said, he would have no apprehension about remaining in Aiken County.
"I'm very appreciative that the board recognized some qualities that they thought would place me among a limited group," Dr. Roberson said. "If anybody knows me, they know my love for Aiken County. I'm rooted in the soil in Aiken County. I won't be leaving Aiken County."
The only out-of-state candidate in the mix, Dr. Everitt will retire from the Albuquerque district after 25 years of service. Wanting to return to her native South Carolina and her family, she saw the position as a chance for more hands-on work with schools. Albuquerque has more than 90,000 students, and she oversees a budget of more than $1 billion.
"I miss being able to be in schools more often," she said. "I'm really a hands-on kind of person."
The grueling interview process not only gave the board a chance to re-evaluate district goals, but it also allowed them to make sure candidates' visions aligned with theirs.
The top six were whittled down based on interviews. The top choice will be selected after references are checked and leadership styles are investigated.
"I haven't Googled a candidate yet for fear of influencing my opinion in a negative or positive way," Dr. Sanders said.
The school board will meet Nov. 19 to discuss their final choice and a potential contract, but board members say they won't have a public vote on a candidate until Nov. 27. Each candidate has expressed that he or she will be able to fill the position by Jan. 1, allowing Interim Superintendent Dr. Bill Gallman to retire.
Reach Julia Sellers at (803) 648-1395, ext. 106, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Three make cut
There are three candidates for superintendent of Aiken County schools:
- Dr. Elizabeth Everitt, superintendent, Albuquerque, N.M., public schools
- Dr. David Mathis, associate superintendent for administration, Aiken County schools
- Dr. Frank Roberson, former interim superintendent, Edgefield County schools