Group upset over school board's choice for middle school principal

NORTH CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - A local advocate group is upset over the school board's choice to lead a North Charleston middle school.

The Citizens United for Public Schools doesn't think Dan Connor is the best choice for principal at Northwoods Middle School.

The school board announced its hiring of Connor at Monday's meeting. The group argues Connor did not make significant progress while he was principal of Stall High School.

Charleston County School Board Chairman Christopher Fraser says right now the board is focused on stabilizing schools including Northwoods middle.They've signed multi-year contracts with principals at both Burke and North Charleston high.

He says they are working to close the achievement gap.

Associate Superintendent of Academic and Instructional Support, Dr. Lisa Herring released the following statement:

"Over the past five years, CCSD has made significant progress on a variety of fronts, including student achievement and the hiring of diverse candidates for positions of leadership. In 2007, 18 CCSD schools were labeled, "at-risk" by the state and in 2011, that number had been reduced to 11. In 2007, 12 CCSD schools were labeled "excellent" by the state and in 2011, that number had increased to 23 -- nearly doubling. This is progress.

There has also been a concerted effort to recruit and hire, not only diverse candidates, but highly qualified candidates. When we make hiring decisions -- our guiding principal is merit and ability -- not race and popular opinion. Under Dr. McGinley's tenure, the number of African American principals in our district has increased. Just this past year, we have seen a 4.7 percent increase in the percentage of African American principals, up from 31.8 percent last year to 36.5 percent this year. 

Lastly, the decision to reconsider the appointment of Mr. Dan Connor at Northwoods Middle School was made by the CCSD Board of Trustees."

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