CHARLESTON COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - Charleston County School District's new superintendent starts work next week. The district announced Wednesday morning that they selected Dr. Gerrita Postlewait, of Georgetown.
"I am extraordinarily optimistic that we have found the right person, for the right time, to take Charleston County School District to the next level," said Cindy Coats, chairwoman of the Charleston County School Board.
Coats says she's relieved that the board has finalized their new superintendent. This week, school board members voted 5-4 to offer the job to Postlewait, who was one of three finalists for the job.
The hiring process took nearly four months and it didn't come without controversy. Some school board members vocalized their concerns about the manner in which candidates were being chosen. The local NAACP chapter also accused the board of not having a broad enough search for a candidate.
Coats says she stands behind their selection process, that included a third party company.
"We wanted somebody with large school district experience," said Coats.
Charleston County School District educates nearly 50,000 students. Postlewait formerly served as the superintendent for the Horry County School District, with 39,000 students.
"She had some programs with high school graduates who were first time college goers in the family," said Coats. "That's a very big thing that she was creating a pipeline to college."
Coats says Postlewait is also a strong communicator, who will be able to talk to parents, students, employees and community leaders alike.
"What struck me is she is very soft spoken but she was very vocal about saying 'I can handle the tough conversations, I can handle the criticism'," said Coats.
Postlewait will be overseeing nearly 5,000 employees at Charleston County School District.
She'll be paid $226,000 annually in salary, unless the board votes to increase it. That's close to what the former superintendent, Dr. Nancy McGinley, was getting paid as well.
Postlewait's contract runs until June 30, 2018.