CCSD Interim Superintendent shares thoughts on COVID, teacher shortages and leadership style

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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD)- Interim Superintendent Donald Kennedy has been in charge of Charleston County School District for a week that has been filled with introductory meetings and one new decision for the district.

In a meeting with his cabinet on Thursday, Kennedy said that a decision was made to pay substitute teachers more money in light of staffing issues around the county.

“I don’t have an exact number, but I think it’s $25. Part of that is the increase in the rate and an incentive for a certain number of days to work during the week. The total dollar amount for that implementation is $1.6 million,” said Kennedy.

Kennedy’s top priority is to keep students and staff safe from COVID-19 with measures such as masks, updated air filtration systems, contact tracing and vaccination clinics.

“I’m going to continue the protocols and the processes that are already in place,” said Kennedy. “If we had to close any schools or any classrooms down that’s like a last resort.”

The school district’s Board of Trustees will reevaluate the mask mandate currently in place in January 10.

The second priority for Kennedy is to allocate the rest of the federal funds that the school district has received.

“I want to make sure that those new initiatives that will be funded from the American Rescue Plan dollars are adequately integrated with the programs we have in place,” said Kennedy.

Kennedy has been introducing himself across the county as well and has teachers groups in his schedule to speak with.

“I’ve met with three sets of principals this week alone,” said Kennedy.

Kennedy said that he has no experience as an educator, but he wants to work in partnership with principals in the county.

“In collaboration with the executive team and principals we will set a set of goals,” said Kennedy. “It will be the goals of that collective body that we would take to the school board.”

As for the process to find a permanent replacement to former superintendent Dr. Gerrita Postlewait, Kennedy had little to say.

“I don’t know what the search process looks like or if the board has discussed that. This is week one for me so I have not thought that far into the future,” said Kennedy.

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