Winthrop graduate joins trustees board, replacing Zais

08/05/2014 7:45 PM

08/06/2014 6:50 AM

A Winthrop University graduate will replace South Carolina’s top education official on the Winthrop Board of Trustees for at least the reminder of the seat’s term, school officials announced Tuesday.

State Superintendent of Education Mick Zais has appointed Winthrop alumna Cindy Van Buren to serve on the board effective immediately. Her first meeting will be Aug. 25.

Van Buren holds two degrees from Winthrop and previously worked at Newberry College as a tenured professor, chair of the education department and assistant dean of academic affairs. Since April 2013, she’s worked at the state Department of Education as the deputy superintendent for school effectiveness.

For the past year of Zais’ term, he’s personally served on the Winthrop board rather than selecting an appointee – which is an option for state officials who serve in an ex-officio capacity on university governing boards.

Gov. Nikki Haley’s appointee to the Winthrop board is trustee Don Long.

Winthrop Acting President Debra Boyd said Tuesday that Van Buren is “fondly” remembered on campus as a former student leader, a current “engaged alumna” and a respected professional in the field of education.

“I look forward to working with Cindy as Winthrop’s Board of Trustees and senior leadership continue to move the institution forward,” Boyd said, noting Van Buren’s passion for student success.

Van Buren is expected to serve on the Winthrop board at least until the end of 2014, when Zais’ seat expires at the end of his term as superintendent.

Van Buren’s return to Winthrop as a trustee brings her back to familiar territory. She worked on campus as director of teacher education and once served as a teacher and assistant principal at Rock Hill High School.

She is a member of the Board of Directors of the Center for Educator Recruitment, Retention and Advancement at Winthrop and she was recognized as professor of the year in 2010 by the S.C. Independent Colleges and Universities organization.

Van Buren holds a bachelor’s degree in English and secondary education and master’s degree in secondary education from Winthrop.

She earned a doctorate in educational leadership and policies from the University of South Carolina.

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