CHARLESTON COUNTY, S.C. (WCBD) – The Charleston County School District Board of Trustees will offer a superintendent contract to Dr. Eric Gallien.
The board voted 6-2 on Wednesday morning to approve Dr. Gallien’s contract during a special called meeting. Board members discussed the matter in an executive session for nearly two hours.
Trustees Leah Whatley and Ed Kelley both voted in opposition to offering the contract.
“I just don’t believe this is in the best interest of this district to take on risk. As I have stated previously in my public statement, I’m just maintaining my position and feel confident with my position that this isn’t the right move to make and that we should reopen the process,” said Whatley, who represents District 7.
A search firm, BWP, was hired to conduct a nationwide search for the next superintendent. From there, they reviewed 44 applications and decided to interview six candidates.
The search was narrowed down to three contenders last month, including Dr. Gallien; however, two other candidates dropped out when their names were allegedly leaked on social media.
The board voted 6-2 to enter contract negotiations with Dr. Gallien a few days later.
“I think it would have been good to let the community see three candidates so they can compare the candidates,” said Jody Stallings, an eighth grade teacher at CCSD.
The offer comes one day after local leaders, activists, and Whatley spoke out on Tuesday saying the search should be restarted, and cited a lack of fairness and transparency.
Dr. Gallien is the superintendent of Racine Unified School District in Wisconsin. Upon signing the contract, he will replace current CCSD Superintendent Don Kennedy. It will mark the end of a lengthy process that has been closely followed by the community.
“What I could consider a mark of success is if he did reach out to the community and opened those doors. Started the trust back,” said Joy Brown, a CCSD parent & education advocate.
Dr. Gallien participated in a community meet and greet last month. The other two candidates were also scheduled to meet with community members, but they withdrew from the selection process before the events happened.