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The Rise and Fall of Dr. Nancy McGinley
11/5/2014 3:50:30 PM

By Beverly Gadson-Birch

Today, Charleston is waking up to some major changes in government. While changes are not necessarily a bad thing, bad decisions change lives. The resignation of Dr. Nancy McGinley was a bad timing. There are unfinished projects on the table; so, what was the urgency? It will take at least nine months to a year to go through the selection process.

I have lived in Charleston County long enough to know a witch hunt when I see one. That’s exactly what happened last Thursday when the County School Board voted to accept Dr. McGinley’s resignation. The Board’s decision defies logic. How can the Board accept McGinley’s resignation before it was offered? The whole matter boiled down to either McGinley resign or be fired.

The Board used McGinley in its overall plan to maintain the status quo in the district as it relates to racial imbalance in hiring and firing, principal and teacher assignments, student transfers, student suspensions and expulsions, prioritize capital building projects and expenditures.

lthough things have not always been wine and roses for the superintendent, over the years she was able to maintain a majority Board support. However, there was at least one member on the Board that was manipulative, vindictive and determined to ouster the superintendent. The Board used the “Diary of a Mad White Woman” and the “watermelon incident” to orchestrate the resignation of Dr. McGinley and to justify what was the inevitable outcome. They responded hastily to public outcry from Academic Magnet parents over the termination of Coach Walpole and members of the Board wanted McGinley gone. The Board did the same thing that they accused Dr. McGinley of and that’s acting hastily without the Board’s approval. The Board acted hastily in forcing Dr. McGinley’s resignation without a review of the investigative report that was the basis of the Superintendent’s decision; so, in absence of the report, what did they base their decision upon?

Apparently the Board’s support for Dr. McGinley began spiraling downward when she stood up for keeping Low Country Tech Academy on the Rivers’ campus followed by the termination and rehiring of Coach Walpole. Dr. McGinley cited the cost factor in relocating the program to three different locations as voted upon and approved by the Board, years of community involvement and the infancy of the program as reasons to delay the move of Low Country Tech Academy.

The Board has wielded its powers heavy handed when dealing with issues directly impacting the Black community with little or no input from the community creating a division along racial lines.

Dr. McGinley, Dr. Lou Martin, Michael Miller and others in dealing with the “watermelon ritual” at Academic Magnet High School have exposed an even greater problem at other schools in the district. While the watermelon incident is cause for concern, it is not the only concern at Academic Magnet High School. There are about 644 students at the school and only 15 are African Americans. The watermelon incident grew out of a culture at the school. And, I don’t believe for one moment that the coach and some of the boys on the team did not know what the melon represented. The same environment at Academic Magnet School that lends itself to disparaging cultural indifferences exists at the School of the Arts, Buist Academy, Wando High, Cario and other schools in the district.

After voting 8-1 to accept the Superintendent’s resignation on Thursday, the Board appointed Michael Bobby, Chief Finance and Operations Officer, Acting Superintendent and as an afterthought appointed Dr. Lisa Herring, Chief Academic Officer, to assist Michael Bobby. If you had any questions about the direction of the Charleston County “Country” School Board and the future of the children, you should not be—not after selecting a Finance Officer over an Academic Officer to head up the district. This is the latest example of the Board’s rush to judgment without a clear plan of action. Other examples of poor decisions just to name a few are the proposal to replicate the Lowcountry Tech Academy to three different sites without costing out the proposal and a blank check for Math Science Charter and Wando High Schools.

In light of the Board’s action to change captains in the middle of the ocean, I hope that a legislative audit or investigation will be conducted into how the one cent sales tax is being spent. And, you are asking for an extension of the sales tax, for what?? You have not proven to be good stewards over your current capital outlay budget. Our children deserve better! Are y’all listening?


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