AIKEN -- Effective June 30, the Aiken County school district will see several new faces occupying leadership posts.
Beth Purvis, the principal of New Ellenton Middle School, will assume the same duties at Wagener-Salley High School. She will be the first female principal in the high school's history and the first woman to lead a public high school in Aiken County.
She replaces Larry Dennis, whose position at the school was short-lived. Recently, he was reassigned as principal of Busbee Elementary School, but turned that down to become an assistant principal at an elementary or middle school.
Joseph F. Padget will become the next principal of Aiken High School. A Belvedere resident, Mr. Padget, who occupies the same position at Langley-Bath-Clearwater Middle School, replaces David Caver.
Recently, Mr. Caver was promoted to Area 1 assistant superintendent upon the retirement of Elizabeth Benton.
The Aiken County school board also unanimously approved the appointment of Doris Hickson as assistant principal of Midland Valley High School. She replaces Rosemary English, who is retiring.
A resident of Graniteville, Mrs. Hickson is the wife of Glover Hickson, a school board member. Likewise, Kyle Smith of North Augusta will replace Gene Robbins as assistant principal of North Augusta High School.
Mr. Smith is a teacher at the high school, where he has taught for five years. Previously, he taught at North Augusta Middle School.
In a related move, Aiken resident Marion Gary Marshall was assigned the new director of operations and administrations for Area 1 schools. Ms. Marshall, assistant principal of South Aiken High School, replaces William Price, who is retiring.
Meanwhile, officials are looking for a replacement for Karen Whitmer, an eighth-grade teacher at Ridge Spring Elementary, charged last week with breaching security on the Basic Skills Assessment Program test.
Ms. Whitmer, who had taught at the school for 12 years, was arrested last week and charged with giving equations and answers to 30 test questions to two classes the day before the April 20 test.
Eight years ago, a similar incident occurred at Busbee Elementary School, also an Area 4 school.