MOUNT PLEASANT, SC (WCSC) - Longtime Wando High School Principal Lucy Beckham has passed away, officials with the Charleston County School District say.
The Charleston County Coroner says Beckham died Sunday evening of natural causes. She was 66 years old.
According to a news release sent by the district, Beckham was an educator for more than 40 years and served as Wando's principal beginning in 1998.
"Lucy's passion and love for her students was evident every day," said Gerrita Postlewait, CCSD Superintendent. "She left a mark on the lives of everyone with whom she interacted and will be deeply missed. Our condolences go out to her family and loved ones."
Beckham was named the National High School Principal of the Year by the National Association of Secondary School Principals in 2009, the news release says.
In July 2015, Mrs. Beckham was named the Executive Principal of East Cooper Schools.
"Under her leadership, Wando received numerous national awards, among those being listed as one of U.S. News & World Report's 'best in the country' high school," the news release states. "She also oversaw the development and opening of the Wando Center for Advanced Studies, a state-of-the-art career and technology program."
Beckham was also named the 2010 Alumna of the Year by the College of Charleston Alumni Association and was the keynote speaker and recipient of an honorary degree at the College's 2010 Graduate School Commencement, the school said in a statement.
Beckham graduated from the College in 1970 with a bachelor's of science in mathematics. She later received masters and specialists degrees from The Citadel.
Beckham urged College of Charleston graduates to support public education in her 2010 commencement speech, the statement reads.
"Speak up for our schools. Learn about the candidates running for office and choose those who support public education. Vote in every election. Contact lawmakers, write letters to the editor, and engage in other civic activities that will support and sustain our public education system."
Charleston County Council Chairman Elliott Summey said he was saddened by Beckham's passing in a statement.
"Mrs. Beckham will be missed for her innovative approaches and her unwavering commitment to our community," he said. "She was a forward thinker who enhanced the lives of all who knew her. My thoughts and prayers go to Mrs. Beckham's family and the Wando High School community."
State Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman released the following statement:
"Lucy Beckham was a dear friend and one of the most dynamic, dedicated educators in our state and nation. She truly loved her students and always kept their best interests as her top priority. We will greatly miss her guidance."