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SANTEE -- The Orangeburg County School Board will keep the public informed as it searches for a district superintendent, the chair says.

"Right now we have not started a search for the superintendent," Chair Peggy James-Tyler said.

James-Tyler discussed the issue Tuesday during a special board meeting.

She noted the search is being conducted by the South Carolina School Boards Association.

"The community will be involved when we get down to the final three or what have you," she said. "You will be able to meet these persons and know exactly who they are and come and ask questions."

James-Tyler said the position has not been advertised and applications have not been submitted.

She said the board plans to meet with SCSBA Executive Director Scott Price, most likely at the board’s May 28 meeting.

"He will go through the process," she said. "When the process starts, all will know. He will come and talk to the board and give us a timeline on when we do this and when we do that."

Orangeburg Consolidated School District 3 special educator Sonya Sims asked about the search during Tuesday’s meeting.

"We are 61 days from July 1," Sims said. "If the new superintendent has not been selected by July 1, what is the alternative?"

"We look for strong leadership," she continued. "We want what is best for our teachers, our students and our community."

James-Tyler said she also, “wants what is best for our children, our employees.”

"It is all about them," she said. "It is not about us. It is not about this board. It is about our children. They are our precious resource."

Dr. Zona Jefferson has been serving as the district's interim superintendent since January.

The new Orangeburg County School District will take over the county’s schools on July 1.

In related matters, trustees voted to hire:

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• Dr. Casandra Jenkins as director of elementary schools. Jenkins currently serves as Orangeburg-Wilkinson High School’s principal.

• Kelvin Lemon as director of secondary schools. Lemon currently serves as the principal of Lake Marion High School.

• Dr. Liana Calloway as director of special services. Calloway currently serves as the OCSD3 director of special services.

• Dr. Wanda McMichael as director of testing and accountability. McMichael currently serves as the executive director of testing, accountability and research at OCSD5.

• David Hess as director of maintenance and facilities. Hess currently serves as Branchville High School principal.

• James Howard as director of transportation. Howard currently serves as the transportation supervisor for OCSD5.

• Eric Ham as director of technology. Ham currently serves as the OCSD5 executive director of instructional technology.

• Gail Sanders as internal auditor. Sanders currently serves as OCSD3 business manager.

• Rebecca Grubbs as director of finance. Grubbs currently serves as director of finance for OCSD4.

Trustees also approved with a 5-3 vote adding an executive assistant for the internal auditor to the district's administrative chart.

Dr. William O'Quinn, James-Tyler, Idella Carson, Debora Brunson and R.L. Brown approved the new position. Mary Ulmer and Ruby Edwards voted against the position. Vernell Goodwin abstained.

In other business:

• Trustees gave first reading to the school district's policy section on personnel.

The policy touches on a number of topics, including the new district's harassment and discrimination policy, staff compensation, employee code of ethics, disciplinary procedures, employee hiring and background checks, cell phone and social media, employee safety, employee grievances and vacations, to name a few.

The board's policies can be viewed under the consolidation tab of each existing school district's website.

• The next meeting of the school board will be held Tuesday, May 14 at 6:30 p.m. at Nix Elementary School on Stilton Road in Orangeburg.

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Contact the writer: gzaleski@timesanddemocrat.com or 803-533-5551. Check out Zaleski on Twitter at @ZaleskiTD.

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