Richland One Superintendent Percy Mack to retire - - Columbia, South Carolina

Richland One Superintendent Percy Mack announces retirement

(Source: Richland School District One) (Source: Richland School District One)

After six years on the job, Richland School District One Superintendent Dr. Percy Mack announced his retirement Wednesday.

Mack had watery eyes as the news was made public.

On Tuesday night, the superintendent of the Richland One school district made the surprise announcement to members of the Board of School Commissioners. Many of them are still shocked.

"It did hit home, because we began to think about students and the leadership of the district, and we just had to come to grips with the fact that he has done a great job," said Chairman Aaron Bishop.

Mack told onlookers he was satisfied with a 42-year career that started in Savannah, took him to Ohio, and finally to Columbia where he became superintendent.

"You know how they say 'When the stars line up'? Well, they have," Mack said. "We've had a good run in these 42 years. I have some kids who I taught who work in Richland One."

City council members said Mack's shoes are big ones to fill.

"C.A. Johnson Medical Magnet opened, we opened up a middle school Montessori in the fall," said school board member Jamie Devine. "We opened the first diesel technology center here east of the Mississippi."

Board commissioners also point to what they call an upward incline of student achievement.

The district was rated below average since 2009 but last year was upgraded to average with an excellent growth rating.

The state report card noted "substantial improvement in the achievement of students belonging to historically underachieving groups."

"We definitely have to keep the momentum going in the right direction," Bishop said. "We want to keep the pattern of success. We want someone who will definitely take the ball and run with it."

Mack said what he'll remember most is all the students he was able to help along the way.

"You know, I'm just so proud," Mack said. "I'm just so proud of all of the youngsters that I've had a chance to come in contact with."

Mack said he hopes to stay in the Columbia area to maybe become a college professor at some point.

His last day will be June 30.

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