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CCSD responds to 'ineffective' rating of superintendent by teachers group

Dr. Gerrita Postlewait delivered a video message for the end of the school year on June 5. (Source: CCSD) Dr. Gerrita Postlewait delivered a video message for the end of the school year on June 5. (Source: CCSD)
CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) -

The Charleston County School District issued a response Tuesday to a teacher advocacy organization's claims that superintendent and the district's school board are "ineffective."

The response comes after the Charleston Teacher Alliance released the results Monday of the 2017 leadership survey that asked more than 1,000 Charleston County teachers to rate the district's leadership.

The survey rated Postlewait was rated "ineffective" with an average score of 1.41 out of 4. That rating included an even lower mark, a 1.28 rating, for "seeking teacher's input... before making important decisions."

"While Dr. Postlewait was graded as 'ineffective,' teachers feel good about her recent willingness to listen to us and bring us to the table to help make our district the best it can possibly be," CTA Director Jody Stallings said. "Her support for the Teacher Cabinet initiative is one of the most innovative approaches to encouraging teacher involvement that this district has ever seen. Rather than looking backwards to last year's mistakes, we are looking forward to 2018 and take the superintendent at her word that she wants to improve her support of and relationship with teachers."

CCSD spokesman Andy Pruitt issued the following statement Tuesday in response to the survey's findings:

"The school district appreciates the feedback and encouragement from the CTA regarding the Superintendent’s recent efforts. She is heartened to see that throughout the past six weeks of listening sessions, passionate debate still centers around one goal, to advance and accelerate the education of the district’s students. 

Superintendent Postlewait will continue to seek improvements in how we measure and improve all aspects surrounding the education of our children. She will also continue to partner with teacher organizations such as the Charleston Teachers Alliance as well as the creation of the Teacher’s Cabinet to ensure teachers are involved in discussions about how CCSD might achieve the best possible results for students."

School board also rated 'ineffective' in annual survey

The school board was also evaluated and rated "ineffective" with a score of 1.47, slightly higher than Postelwait's.  

"While the school board fared very poorly in our survey, it should be pointed out that there are some members of the board who support classroom teachers," Stallings said. "It is regrettable that they have to endure such a dismal level of respect because of a few board members who let their personal agenda and failure to see the big picture get in the way of doing a competent job for the people of Charleston."

"I think we all bear responsibility to that," school board member Kevin Hollingshead said Tuesday. "The group that's on the end are a very large group and we need to kind of sit down and re-evaluate what's going on. We need to think about the future of Charleston County schools and what we need to do in four years."

"This should be be a wake up call to the board," school board member Todd Garrett said. "They need to focus on results in the classroom and supporting teachers in the classroom."

Teachers designated 14 Charleston schools as "Honor Roll Schools" for having principals who demonstrated outstanding leadership. Nine schools were designated "At-Risk" for what the organization calls poor principal performance.

Thirty principals received a score lower than 2.80, indicating a widespread need for improved school leadership, the group says.

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