City, school district host community drop-in for superintendent

08/28/2014 7:14 PM

08/29/2014 10:35 AM

Even though she’s been in the city since May, Rock Hill schools Superintendent Kelly Pew had an opportunity Thursday to get to know her community a little better.

Community members and civic leaders gathered at City Hall to greet Pew, offer their support and introduce themselves to the person at the helm of York County’s largest school district. The drop-in was hosted by the city of Rock Hill and the Rock Hill school district.

“We always want the superintendent to feel this community sincerely welcomes her,” said district spokeswoman Elaine Baker.

Pew, who was most recently the superintendent in Pickens County, started in her new position on May 5, but her priority was getting into as many schools as possible before the end of the academic year, Baker said.

Then, summer presented its own work and scheduling challenges, so a meet-and-greet at the end of August just “felt right,” Baker said.

“It’s a new year, a new superintendent,” she said.

City Council member Ann Williamson, who represents Ward 5, said she wanted to know the superintendent and wanted to make sure the superintendent knew her.

“The city and the schools go hand in hand,” Williamson said.

Several school- and district-level administrators stopped by, although they’ve met Pew and worked with her on many occasions.

Northside Elementary School principal Cassidy Valerino and her daughter, Giada, 5, were in attendance.

“We’re so excited to have her with us,” Valerino said.

Many people, including Valerino, said Pew has already done a good job during her first few months in the position.

Kathy Bigham, chairwoman of the Winthrop University Board of Trustees, called Pew a “positive and upbeat leader.”

She is going to be a “great superintendent,” Bigham said.

Several dozen people attended Thursday’s event, including some of Pew’s own family members.

Jim Vining, Rock Hill school board chairman, said he wasn’t surprised to see such a large turnout.

“It’s what I would expect because this community supports public education,” he said.

Over the last week, Pew said it has been an exciting start to her first full school year in Rock Hill. At schools and in classrooms, children and teachers acted as if the last school year had never ended and got right down to business.

Pew said she felt she already had some connections in the community.

“It’s nice to have the support, especially since I’ve been here for a little while already,” she said.

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