DORCHESTER COUNTY, S.C. (WCBD) – Two thousand students will head back to class in Dorchester District Four next week.

After several changes in top leadership within the district, Gerald Wright came out of retirement for his first superintendent role to become the district’s leader.

“Hopefully we can move forward and make this the district everyone in the community can be proud of and that’s going to be our focus,” he said. “We try to stabilize things as we best possibly can. Hopefully, we’re looking for a great year in terms of that stabilization.”

The small school district has six schools and will open a new school next to Woodland High School next year.  That new school will draw students from St. George and Harleyville middle.

“No major changes at this point in time. We’re just trying to strengthen what we already have in place, and where we can make adjustments to make life better for everyone else, that’s our goal at this point in time,” said Wright.

Wright says his top priorities are improving academics, safety and retaining teachers. “Another goal as we go through the year, we have to continue to work with teacher recruitment and retention. School safety, with all the things going on now with schools, we pray and trust we don’t have to deal with that, but ensuring we have the best protection we possibly can for both students and employees, and anyone else who happens to be in the school.”

All of the district’s six schools have school resource officers.  The district purchased four metal detectors and wands for extra security.

Wright says he has renewed optimism about what lies ahead in the new school year. 

“Hopefully everyone can come back with a refreshed mindset, look toward the future in terms of how we can best move the district forward as a whole in terms of academics, athletics, fine arts, and all these other good stuff that plays a big role in what we do,” he said “Our focus will be that, and hopefully everyone will have a renewed energy that we can come and we can do some good things as a group.”

The first day of school in Dorchester District Four is Tuesday August 16th.

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