CCSD Superintendent addresses recent leadership changes

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) –Charleston County School District Superintendent Don Kennedy is addressing recent changes in leadership.

This comes after the district announced on Tuesday that they are parting ways with the longtime chief of staff, Erica Taylor. Taylor served as chief of staff since October 2012.

“All of the restructures that I’m doing is associated with trying to position the organization, position the people, the departments in the organization to make sure that we have the right approach to student outcomes,” said Superintendent Kennedy when asked about the shakeup.

Kennedy said the chief of staff position was eliminated altogether.

News of Taylor’s departure comes days after CCSD announced multiple other changes in leadership, including Karolyn Belcher who just left her position as the Chief Academic Officer.

According to Superintendent Kennedy, about 51% of CCSD students are reading below grade level. He’s hoping to see all students reading on grade level by fifth grade in 2027. As a result, the district said some employees will be moved and some positions will be changed.

Courtney Waters, the Vice Chair of the CCSD Board of Trustees, said she is concerned about the changes and said she was not consulted.

“I think that’s concerning because we are elected to be the voice of the students, the parents, and generally the families of the Charleston County School District,” said Waters. “With us not being consulted, that means that the values of the community weren’t taken into account and that this agenda is sort of a singular one and that’s always concerning.”

Kevin Hollinshead, a former CCSD board member questioned why Taylor was not offered another position within the district.

The district’s decision to let Taylor go has even caught the attention of state leaders like Representative Wendell Gilliard, who said he would like to see the recent alteration rescinded.

“You want to focus on the academics and the safety of our children. You want to stay focused,” said Rep. Gilliard. “Why would you cause such a shakeup?”

Superintendent Kennedy said he does not plan to make any more leadership changes at that level.

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