New Berkeley Co. Schools superintendent says he learned he was hired during board meeting
BERKELEY COUNTY, S.C. (WCSC) - The new superintendent for the Berkeley County School District says he learned he was being hired to replace the former superintendent during last week’s school board meeting.
During that meeting, which was the first meeting for the newly elected school board since the election, the board voted to fire former superintendent Deon Jackson and replace him with Dr. Anthony Dixon.
That decision has incited contention and concern. Community members, attorneys and even a few current board members are questioning how the board could fire someone and hire their replacement in one night, allegedly without any previous conversations or secret meetings. There have even been allegations that the board’s conduct was unethical and illegal.
In a one-on-one interview we asked Dixon what his thoughts and response were to last week’s meeting.
”I can’t answer for the board. I can’t answer for the response of the community,” Dixon says. “I can stick to the core business of getting that message out that we’re going to transition through this change, we’re going to manage this change together, we’re going to respect everybody’s need to process at this time and process the best way they do so, but we’re also going to continue focus on teaching and learning.”
Dixon learned that he was officially selected as the district’s superintendent during the board meeting, Dixon says.
”I was watching on YouTube on the Berkeley County live,” Dixon says.
In an email sent to media outlets after the interview, Dixon clarified the timeline of Tuesday’s decision.”
As I explained, I could not be offered the position until the Board met and voted,” Dixon’s email read. “That official news came Tuesday night. [Board Chair Mac] McQuillin called and asked me the weekend before the meeting if I was still interested in being superintendent, as I was a previous finalist. I confirmed to Mr. McQuillin that I was interested in serving Berkeley County if given the opportunity.”
Dixon says he hopes to keep students and learning the focus of the district.
“By maintaining visibility, listening, and setting some goals that we’ll all adhere to and focus on and making sure our core business is teaching and learning, we’ll remove the shift from me but keep our focus on our students and that’s who’s most important,” Dixon says. “It’s not about me as a person, it’s more about where our students are and where they need to be.”
When it comes to his plan going forward for the district, Dixon believes he can be an effective by examining data and sticking to their objectives.”
What’s important is that we have a baseline of the data and we’re able to communicate it to everyone and we’re able to rally behind it to make sure we’re implementing the best practices and strategies to improving [sic] the data and setting some goals that are attainable but are still rigorous goals,” he says.
Charleston County Schools named Dixon interim chief of schools back in August. He served as Chief of Academics and Innovation and Chief of Secondary Schools for Berkeley County Schools the two years before that.
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