The new superintendent of Williamsburg County School District welcomed nearly four thousand students back to school. The state took over the district last spring. News 2 sat down with their new leader, as they work to make improvements.
“I would like to refer to it as a new era, a renaissance. We’re ready for major change,” says new superintendent of Williamsburg county Dr. Rose Wilder. She has a track record of improving schools. “I do take pride in the fact that I have been a change agent for the good. I always surround myself with strong people. It’s not a one person show. You have to have a solid team, and when I was in Clarendon Two, I had a wonderful team to work with, so we were able to affect change there,” Wilder says.
Earlier this year, the state took over the district, and declared a State of Emergency due to financial and academic concerns. Dr. Wilder says,
“The noncompliance issue was that there are students without IEP’s. Objectives were not appropriately addressed, so therefore when you hear the word noncompliance, those are education concerns we need to address. Money was not directed toward what it should have been directed for.”
Dr. Wilder says the district is planning and implementing a number of new initiatives to improve academics. She says, “Make certain I am visible in the schools. I have an open door policy with parents and staff members. We want to make certain that the teachers we have in our classrooms are actually delivering effective instruction on a daily basis. We want our students to understand their behavior could be the catalyst between them achieving and not achieving. Even though student achievement in my opinion is a challenge, there are some excellent students in the district.” She plans to launch the Leader in Me model district wide. “The reason why I want to center or focus on Leader in Me, is because once students realize they are actually accountable for their behavior and learning as well, they play a part. We want them to take ownership of their learning. Once we get social skills under control, I think everything else will fall in place. My hope at the end of this year, is that the state department would come back and say, Rose you and your team have accomplished what we felt needed to be accomplished,” says Wilder.
The district held several community meetings to get feedback from parents bout concerns going forward. Dr. Wilder has a message for students, parents, staff, and Williamsburg county communities. “It takes everybody working together. Together we’re stronger. Together we’re better. We’re prepared to educate all of our students to the best of our ability. We offer a safe environment for our students to learn, and I can assure our parents in the community that the learning environment for their children will be one of nurturing and respect and high expectations for all of our students. We’re ready for an exciting year, and I certainly believe the best for Williamsburg County School District, the best is yet to come.”