Kelly Pew has all the credentials she needs to be an excellent superintendent of the Rock Hill school district. We hope she will prove to be as effective a leader for Rock Hill as she was for the Pickens County school district.
Pew, who was chosen from a field of three strong finalists, is quick to note that she has 20 years of experience in public education. And that experience has run the gamut from classroom teacher to principal to administrator to superintendent.
Pew, 44, holds a master’s degree from Furman University and a doctorate of philsophy in educational leadership from Clemson University. She has worked in a number of South Carolina school districts. Her administrative experience includes serving as assistant principal and principal in both middle and high schools.
She also served as assistant superintendent of instructional services for Pickens County schools, then as assistant superintendent of human resources before assuming the job as superintendent in 2012 when the previous superintendent retired. She says that these varied positions gave her a good understanding of both instructional needs and finance, skills that have served her well as Pickens superintendent.
One of the things that stood out about Pew in interviews with the Rock Hill school board was the 30-60-90-day plan she presented, outlining what her priorities would be during her first weeks in office. In the first phase, she would meet with principals, students and community members to learn about the district and its successes and challenges.
In the next phase, she would develop a budget, make staffing decisions and plan for the next step in implementing the iRock technology plan, taking it to the high school level. And at 90 days, the new school year would begin.
This outline could have been just a gimmick. Instead, it indicated that she had done her homework while also highlighting her understanding of what the job entails, her knowledge of budgetary and administrative issues, and her willingness to begin on day one to address the district’s needs.
Pew recognizes that not all students are best suited to go on from graduation to a four-year college, but she pledges to work to ensure that all students are on a career path after high school. To that end, she helped Pickens County schools foster relationships with colleges and businesses to learn their mutual needs.
A similar approach could work well in Rock Hill, in cooperative partnerships with Winthrop University, York Technical College and local employers.
Pew also put a high priority as Pickens County superintendent on keeping the community well informed about educational goals and the district’s agenda. She said she gave a “State of the District” address several times during the school year where she allowed parents the opportunity to ask her questions. And she formed advisory groups to learn more about what was going on in the schools, meeting with students, parents and community members twice a year.
Here’s hoping she continues those practices – and maintains an overall dedication to openness – as Rock Hill’s superintendent.
We welcome her and her family to Rock Hill.